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Wise and Foolish Virgins,
"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, 'Truly I tell you, I do not know you.' Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
The parable is proper to Matthew. We do not know the time of Christ’s return whether at the end of time or the time of our death: be always prepared for the Lord’s coming. Do not let the parousia, the end of life, take you by surprise.
The parable stands between two teachings on vigilance: “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour that the Lord will come. The bridegroom is the Son of Man, Jesus. The point of the parable is that we must always be ready even though he is long in coming.
Ten await the bridegroom, five are ready, five are not. The latter’s lack of preparedness suggests a lack of fidelity in following Jesus. When the bridegroom appears the five who are ready enter the kingdom with the bridegroom. The others are excluded. There is a chilling finality about their exclusion, “the door is shut.”
The call to discipleship is exacting, an invitation to a personal relationship with Jesus. Formed by his word, it is the person of Jesus that gives meaning to the relationship. We are invited to friendship, companionship with Him. It is the person of Jesus and faith in him that characterizes the relationship. Faith is the controlling factor. In the parable, the bridegroom does not open the door for those he does not know. They have failed the test of discipleship.Nothing is of any benefit if we are not ready when the bridegroom comes to lead his guests to the wedding banquet. A personal relationship with Jesus is the only true foundation for a life that is called Christian.
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries