32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 6:12-16 II:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them;
4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 But at midnight there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.'
7 Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
9 But the wise replied, 'Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.'
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut.
11 Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.'
12 But he replied, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
In the Jewish custom then, a wedding was considered a great occasion. The whole village would walk the bride and the groom to their new home. Even the rabbis agreed to abandon the study of law just to attend the festivities.
Unlike the Western culture, going on a honeymoon was unheard of; instead, the
newly-wed couple would stay home for a week to celebrate with their guests. Only chosen friends are admitted to the ceremony.
Before the ceremony began, the groom has to negotiate with the bride's family; there is no telling when this will finish.
When the bridegroom finally comes, it is expected that a man is sent to announce "Behold! the bridegroom is coming!". This may happen at anytime of the day, sometimes even in the middle of the night. Therefore, the bridal party must be on the watch and be ready to come out and meet the bridegroom.
After dark, no one is allowed outside without a lighted lamp. After the arrival of the bridegroom, the doors are shut immediately, late-comers to the ceremony are not permitted. It was considered a dishonor if guests did not arrive on time.
One Main Point
God's arrival is unpredictable. There are no exceptions for those who are unprepared in the coming of the Kingdom of God.
- Why were there five foolish virgins and five wise virgins? Does this mean only half of the world will go to the Kingdom of God? Doesn't it seem like much less will go? or does it mean that five of those wise virgins could have spared some oil to the five foolish ones but chose not to because the Kingdom of God is far too great to take any risk?
- Have you ever been not prepared for something you knew you should have, such as not studying or preparing adequately for a class exam? Considering the exam was graded fairly, and you flunked it. Who do you blame, the teacher or yourself?
- Reflect and think of the way you have been preparing yourself for the coming of Jesus Christ. Or have you even thought of it? Is what you are doing enough? What can we do to prepare for the Kingdom of God as an individual, as a community, and as a world?
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community