Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:1-13 (NRSV)
The parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids is a continuance of the theme of the end times.
Rather than grace, we see the foolish bridesmaids turned away when they go to find oil for their lamps.
In the first century Middle East, a wedding was a grand affair you did not miss. To snub a wedding would dishonor the groom in the standing of the community. His dismissal of the foolish bridesmaids would be a typical response of someone who has had his honor smudged in such a way.
Jesus relates this situation to the kingdom of heaven as a warning not to dishonor him in this lifetime.
We all know the stress of being late
and trying to get where we need to be.
In Matthew’s time, there would have been persecutions against Christians leaving them plenty of opportunity to fade away (becoming foolish).
In our time, there is not persecution in the United States as much as ambivalence. Christianity is not en vogue within younger culture. Many are turning away because it just does not speak to them. What will the faithful do?
To be honest, I always felt as if the foolish bridesmaids could have been offered forgiveness and grace. Maybe to be a wise one, you could also offer to share even if it means there will not be enough to go ’round.
What if compassion for those on the outside is the “oil” we need to cultivate for our lamps?
This outcome would fit more with the “workers in the vineyard” or the “lost sheep” or what Jesus tells Peter about forgiveness. It also fits with the Beatitudes, namely, “Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy.”
Maybe I need to think about filling my own lamp so much that I will have oil to spare. Then no one will need to go without the light.
Prayer for the day:
God, we give thanks for Jesus Christ, the light of the world.
We remember that he tells us that we are the light of the world as well.
Give us the oil we need to always be ready to shine.
May our lamps burn so brightly that others may walk alongside us in the darkness.
In this may we never be late to the party.
Photo by Asim Bharwani via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.