I thought it was only the brides that were traditionally late at the wedding! However, in the gospel today, the groom delays his coming. Weddings in the Middle East, as they are anywhere in the world, are the cause of a great celebration, festive and wonderful celebrations of life –and so they should be! In ancient Palestine, as we hear Jesus telling us, the groom could take hours to arrive. Imagine! You are the sponsor at the wedding and two hours later, you are still waiting for the groom or bride to arrive. Would you wait?
In the gospel, Jesus narrates to us that there are 10 bridesmaids waiting to the coming of the groom. Some were wise; others were foolish- why would that be the case? Perhaps the more experienced were used to waiting around. In order for them to be safe, they had extra oil in their lamps – just in case. At midnight, the groom finally arrives. Imagine rising from your sleep and not having any oil. It is late and it seems impossible to buy the extra oil. This becomes a problem because those who have come prepared are the wiser. The others have to go elsewhere. What a sad occasion it turns out to be for the foolish. They are not permitted entry into the wedding feast, after all that waiting until midnight – they are foolish because they were not vigilant and prepared for the coming of the groom.
The call of the gospel today is to stay awake! We do not know the hour or day of the arrival of the Son of Man. We can be sure that He will come, when, we are not so sure. We must have sobriety about us. To be vigilant is a grace from the Lord.
I remember back in the novitiate when we were often called to keep vigil with the Lord in prayer of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. These were inspiring times if one was awake! However, sometime you were rostered in the early hours of the morning – they became known as the “graveyard shift”. I used to think no one else in their right mind would be praying that time of the day. However, it is very good, plenty of grace – even if it meant opening your eyelids with matchsticks (joke)
So are you ready. Do you have your lamps burning brightly for the Lord? We should always be ready to greet him whenever he desire to come. Let us be willing and able to enter when he calls us to himself
Is there oil in your lamp?
Give me the oil of your Spirit burning every day and always, Lord. Help me to be vigilant and ready to do your will in my life. Amen