27th AUGUST 2021

Art print "The Parable of the Ten Virgins" Mt 25:1-13 — AinVaresArt


Memorial of Saint Monica


1 Thes 4:1-8;             Ps 97:1-2, 5-6, 10-12;            Mt 25:1-13



In Palestine, during Jesus’ time, a wedding took place in two stages. The first stage was called the betrothal, which was held at the home of the father of the bride. At this stage, the marriage contract and the bride’s ‘price’ were presented to the father of the bride by the bridegroom.

The bride remained in her father’s house till the groom came to take her home. This was the second part of the wedding. The procession to the house of the groom would be the beginning of the feasting. The gospel parable is about this stage. The ten bridesmaids who went out met the procession of the bridegroom and the bride. They lighted up the path to the bridegroom’s house. The number ten refers to fullness or completion.

We are told at the beginning of today’s parable about the ten bridesmaids; five of them were called wise (phronimoi) and five foolish (morai). All ten had come to the wedding with their lamps burning. Five came prepared with extra oil while the ‘foolish’ five didn’t bring any extra oil. A delay in the arrival of the groom was realistic as negotiations could take time. The focus of the parable is on the bridesmaids and their lamps. Earlier in his gospel, Matthew equates light with good deeds that others can see and give praise to the heavenly Father (cf. 7:16). The lamp and the oil are steps the disciples and we need to take, in order to be prepared to meet Jesus. The parable invites us to watch and be ready at all times.

In the first reading, Paul invites us to make progress in the life of holiness. Living a life of holiness certainly includes being watchful and alert to avoid sin at all costs. Thus, we must keep ourselves prepared to receive our Lord anytime he comes. The Psalmist reminds us that it is the Lord who loves us, guards us and sets us free from the wicked; he invites us to rejoice as we live holy lives.

Response: Rejoice in the Lord, you just.

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