A Daily Gospel Reflection
by Fr. Jim Livingstone
Friday, August 28, 2020
“When the day comes, the kingdom of Heaven will be like this. There were ten girls, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five prudent; when the foolish ones took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the others took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was a long time in coming, they all dozed off to sleep. But at midnight there came a shout: “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then the girls all got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, “Our lamps are going out; give us some of your oil.” “No,” they answered; “there will never be enough for all of us. You had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” While they were away the bridegroom arrived; those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the others came back. “Sir,sir, open the door for us,” they cried. But he answered, “Truly I tell you: I do not know you.” Keep awake then, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Wedding customs in ancient Palestine required extra preparation for everyone involved. The bride and groom did not go away but celebrated for a whole week with their families and friends. The groom accompanied by his friends would take his bride to their new home. They would take the longest route so that many villagers along the way could join in the wedding procession. Once they arrived and closed the doors no one else could be admitted. If the groom decided to bring his new wife to their home at night, lights would be required to guide the travelers in the dark and narrow streets. No one was allowed to on the village streets at night without a lamp.
Meditation: Are you missing out on what is most important in life? Being unprepared can lead to unnecessary trouble and even disaster. What good is a life-jacket left on the shore when the boat is sinking?
The ten maidens in Jesus’s story were unprepared for the wedding procession. They had not brought enough oil for their lamps. Waiting for a wedding procession in the middle of the night may seem strange to us, but the people of our Lord’s time knew all too well how easily this could happen to them.
The consequences of being unprepared to meet the Lord.