In waiting for Christ's Advent, it is easy to get caught up in foolishness and find ourselves lost in the night. In this parable, the five ill-prepared bridesmaids are shut out from the wedding feast and abandoned to the dark because they fail to keep their lamps of faith trimmed and burning, ready for Christ's return.
It is a sobering story, but it is not the final word. For it is the nature of the Bridegroom to come to his own people who are lost in the darkness in order to bring them into the light of God's presence, even if it means his undergoing the utter darkness of death. As we await, whether foolishly or wisely, Christ's coming again, we look to the light from his cross that shines its power, truth and love into every darkened corner of our world and into the recesses of every human heart. In faith and hope we join our voices to the ancient Advent prayer, "Come, Lord Jesus:" "Come, our crucified and risen Bridegroom. Come and save us soon."
Matthew 25:1-13 (NRSV)
1 "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
3 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, all of them became drowsy and slept.
6 But at midnight there was a shout, "Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.'
7 Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps.
8 The foolish said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
9 But the wise replied, "No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.'
10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut.
11 Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, "Lord, lord, open to us.'
12 But he replied, "Truly I tell you, I do not know you.'
13 Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.