REFLECTION | The Parable of the Bridesmaids: ‘Always be ready’

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This story throws light on what will happen in the kingdom of heaven. Ten bridesmaids went out with their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible. The careless bridesmaids took their lamps as they were, and did not take extra oil. But those who were sensible, took flasks of oil with their lamps.

As the bridegroom delayed, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight a cry rang out “The bridegroom is here, come out and meet him! All the maidens woke up at once, and trimmed their lamps.

Then the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, “give us some oil, for our lamps are going out.” The sensible ones answered , “There may not be enough for us and for you. You had better go to those who sell, and buy some yourselves.”

When the bridegroom came the foolish maidens were out buying oil, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding feast, and the doors were shut. Later the other bridesmaids arrived and called out, “Lord, Lord, open to us!” But he answered, “Truly, I do not know you.” So stay awake, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
—Matthew 25:1-13

The gospel reading is a parable on readiness and awareness. It is also a timely message for everyone today. To be always alert for we do not know what time God will come to see us.

In the traditional Jewish wedding celebration, after having arranged with the concerned families, the bridegroom goes to the bride’s house to fetch her and bring her to the groom’s house as part of their ritual. In the parable, the bride has 10 bridesmaids.

They lit their lamps as evening came. Five of the bridesmaids had ran out of oil for their lamps while waiting for the bridegroom while the other five bridesmaids had extra oil for their lamps. When the bridegroom was about to arrive , the oil of the five bridesmaids were all gone and so they went to the nearest stall where they can buy oil. The other five bridesmaids had only enough, including the extra they prepare so that that they were not able to share with those whose lamps went off. Only five bridesmaids had joined the bride and bridegroom as they proceeded to the bridegroom’s house.

Look what happened to the five bridesmaids whose lamps had ran out of oil, they went to the bridegroom’s house and asked the bridegroom to open the door for them. The master of the house said: “Truly, I do not know you.”

And the master of the house did not welcome them and shut the door for them.

We do not really know how life will unfold and what the future holds for us. There are a lot of factors to consider in our future, we too do not know the priorities and important things in life. But this is also a real question for us, our purpose and goal. For Christians. We wait for Christ who will come again in his glory.

When one waits for someone who is important and dear to him or her, one does not sleep so he or she can open the door and welcome the one that person is waiting for.

We wait for God, we wait for Him gladly so we may not miss Him when He comes. We always aim to be prepared because there is no particular time for His coming.

Be watchful, therefore, and always prepare yourself—what have you become and what have you done for Him and others.

What is the most important thing in your life if not God himself? Are you living and doing things according to God’s standards? Do you follow God’s will without reservation? How are you as a parent to your children? Are you a responsible and loving parent to your children?

How are you as a child (son/daughter) to your parents? Are you a good and obedient son or daughter? How are you as a friend? Are you a trustworthy and kind friend? How are you as a student? Are you a serious and committed student? How are you as a co- worker? Are you a good and industrious co-worker?

Like the five bridesmaids who were very prepared, we all have to equip ourselves with what we basically need in life. There is still time to do some important works and chores as part of our personal or group preparation should our Creator and Master decide to show up one day.

Ask ourselves if we are ready to welcome the Master. Are we dependable stewards? Are our families ever ready to receive the Master? Is our community or workplace fully prepared to have the Master in our midst?

In every celebration of the Eucharist, we profess our faith that “Christ has died and has risen, and will come again.” Let us always be awake so that when Jesus comes, we are ready to welcome him.

Let us pray, reflect and ask ourselves:

Am I ready to meet God anytime?

Am I prepared to see God?

Will the Lord find me ready when He comes?

Prayer: Almighty and Ever- living God, may we always be ready so we can welcome you when you come and arrive. May we always be alert and ready to see God and receive Him in our lives and in our hearts. Please keep us strong so we can keep vigil and offer sacrifices while waiting for you, for you alone is our God, our Savior, and our King. This we ask through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Intention: Let us pray for those whom we had promised to pray for; those who have lost their faith, may God’s love be their hope and salvation. May the sick and the needy find God’s consolation in the people they meet and to those who helped them.