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Friday, August 31, 2012
In today's gospel reading, Matthew 25: 1-13, Jesus tells a parable stating, "Then the Kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom."
The story goes that five were wise and five were foolish. The five foolish maidens did not bring an extra amount of oil for their lamps, the wise did. When the bridegroom finally arrives the foolish do not have enough oil. They ask the wise maidens to share. However they are told they do not have enough to share and they must go into town and buy more of their own.
Now whenever I read this parable I am always confused by the refusal of the wise maidens to share their oil. After all aren't we taught as Christians to share what we have? It always seemed a bit greedy to me. Towards the end of the story we are told that the doors are locked to the five foolish maidens. When they ask to be let in, the bridegroom replies he does not know them. Harsh! I am really irritated with the five wise maidens.
So I was curious what Father Paul would share today about this reading. He claims that most people share the same opinion I have. But he said to think of the oil representing good deeds. We can not share the good we have done here on earth with anyone else. Meaning when the time comes to account for our life to God, we can't say- "I didn't help the poor, the sick, the hungry but my mom did a LOT! So I was hoping to use some of her good deeds to get me into the Kingdom of heaven."
Ahhh- now the parable makes sense to me. The wise maidens prepared before the bridegroom came. They got their lamps ready as well as extra. The foolish maidens did their own thing and assumed there would be plenty to go around. The wise weren't being selfish, they were being prepared.
The morale of the story, for me, is the ending of the scripture, "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."