The parable of the 10 bridesmaids is a challenge to be aware and alert and ready for Christ’s coming at the end of time, and to be ready today. In the time of Jesus, the wedding celebration was different than what we do. The groom would go the bride’s house accompanied by his family and friends, and would jokingly haggle with the father of the bride about the dowery. The higher the price; the most precious the bride. At this, of course it was all symbolic, the dowery had already been settled but it could take some time. When it was all over, the bridegroom would bring the bride to his house for the ceremony and celebration. However, since no one knew how long the father and groom would spend haggling, people were sent ahead to announce the coming of the bridegroom. This was the job of the bridesmaids ….they were to light the way for the bride and bridegroom and announce the time of the wedding was near. They had to be prepared and ready because they didn’t know how long the “haggling” would last.
We are the bridesmaids……we need to be ready to announce the coming of Christ the Bridegroom. Our challenge to is to keep the lamp of faith alive, filled with oil of grace, and our faith burning brightly. How? By actively engaging the life of faith.
We need to be actively praying and renewing our spiritual life.
Our weekly attendance at the Eucharist and celebrating the Sacraments,
By reading the Scriptures, and other spiritual writers
By actively embracing acts of charity and justice
we replenish the oil of our faith.
The parable is a challenge to realize that our life of faith, our relationship with Christ is an investment. But it is not a static investment. It is not a lamp that will keep burning when we do not put oil into it. The 5 wise bridesmaids put an effort into their work. They kept their lamps filled with oil and the wicks were trimmed. They kept awake and alert looking for the bridegroom. They did not sit around looking for someone else to do the work. The 5 foolish one expected to keep their lamps lit with someone else’s effort. They put the minimal amount of work into it.
Our faith life will not survive on a minimal amount of work.
To wait for the Bridegroom is to be active…
to keep enough oil on hand….our works of charity , our life of prayer..
to trim the wicks…to be challenged by the Gospel to a constant conversion of our hearts..
to change the behaviors that are in our way of getting closer to Christ….
to be awake….to be alert to Christ’s presence everyday;
even in the places we least expect….
and finally, to announce the coming of the Bridegroom by our actions and by our words. Doing this things, the second coming of Christ will not be surprise….it will be the welcoming of an old and beloved friend We will miss him, and end up outside of the wedding feast.
O Lord Jesus, Bridegroom of the wedding feast of heaven,
Help me to be ready for your coming.
May the oil of the lamp of my faith be constantly replenished by the Eucharist and prayer
May I be trimmed as a wick to burn brighter by allowing you into the parts of my life that need to be changed and grown
Keep me awake in my faith…may I never grow complacent or tired, but always alert
O Lord Jesus, host of the wedding feast, may I be alert and ready to announce to all the you are here.