November 12, 2023
Matthew 25: 1-13
In the Gospel for this thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus presents us with the parable of the ten virgins in which he shows two pictures, equally divided into foolish and wise virgins. The first group did not plan ahead. They waited for the arrival of the groom before noticing that they didn’t have oil for their lamps. On the other hand, the second group were prepared. They had kept their lamps ready with extra oil as they awaited the groom.
In meditating on the Gospel of this Sunday, I picture the two scenes of the parable. On the one hand I see the excitement of the wise virgins who hurry joyously, going to meet the groom. Knowing that the night might be long, they had prepared extra bottles of oil. Consequently, they are ready to enter together with the groom into the wedding reception. On the other hand, I see the sadness and frustration of the foolish virgins. They cry as they run through the village looking for oil to re-light their lamps and follow the groom. Unfortunately for them, the door of the room where the celebration was to take place was already closed. Their request hardens the groom’s heart. He blames them for their lack of prudence and gives them a good lesson by means of this command, “Stay awake because you know not the day nor the hour.”
Jesus speaks to us in a parable to warn us about the way in which we should act while awaiting his return and our entrance into his Kingdom. In the conclusion of his lesson, Jesus gives us a recommendation which highlights the lesson of the parable: “Stay awake because you know not the day nor the hour.”Indeed, Jesus shows the importance of this quality by the number of times when he repeats to his apostles, “Watch and pray.” Today, Jesus gives us the same advice.
In meditating on this text, I recall a woman who arrived late to a wedding feast. She was at the gate when the couple began to make their entrance into the room where the celebration was to take place. She ran from door to door, but no one was allowed to enter the room at the same time as the couple. You can imagine the sadness of this woman who was left outside with her invitation in her hand. Let us think also about how we might feel if we were to find ourselves in the same situation.
Let us continue our reflection by thinking about the following question.
If I were among the ten virgins today, in which group would Jesus find me?
Jesus addresses us today, “Watch and pray because you know not the day nor the hour.” Mt, 25: 13
Matthew 25: 1-13
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Meet Sister Victorine Mansanga, SNDdeN