Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
25:1 Then: at the time of the parousia. Kingdom … will be like is a warning to the disciples not to attempt to anticipate the final judgment of God by a definitive exclusion of sinners from the kingdom. In its present stage it is composed of the good and the bad. The judgment of God alone will eliminate the sinful. Until then there must be patience and the preaching of repentance.
25:2–4 Foolish … wise: cf. the contrasted “wise man” and “fool” of Mt 7:24, 26 where the two are distinguished by good deeds and lack of them, and such deeds may be signified by the oil of this parable.
25:11–12 Lord, Lord: cf. Mt 7:21. I do not know you: cf. Mt 7:23 where the Greek verb is different but synonymous.
25:13 Stay awake: some scholars see this command as an addition to the original parable of Matthew’s traditional material, since in Mt 25:5 all the virgins, wise and foolish, fall asleep. But the wise virgins are adequately equipped for their task, and stay awake may mean no more than to be prepared; cf. Mt 24:42, 44.
Friends, our Gospel today is the parable that compares the kingdom of heaven with ten virgins who with their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom. This is an image borrowed from the customs of the time. The bridesmaids would wait for the groom and, upon his appearance, would accompany him.
Well, this is the Christian community, waiting for Christ the groom to arrive. Did Jesus tell this parable because he knew that his church would be in for a long period of waiting?
We are wise in our waiting if we pray on a regular basis, if we educate ourselves in the faith, if we participate in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, if we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, if we become people of love. We are foolish in our waiting if we neglect these things.
And here is one of the hardest truths of this parable: the divine life, so cultivated, cannot simply be shared with another at the last minute. The wise virgins are not being difficult and self-absorbed when they tell their friends that they can’t help them. A saint can’t simply infuse his life into another; it just doesn’t work that way.
– Bishop Robert Barron
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.