Today’s parable reflects the wedding customs of Jesus’ time. The bridegroom would arrive at the bride’s house with his attendants, and the bride, together with her family and friends, would join the party and make a ceremonial entrance to the feast. So the bridesmaids had an important role in the wedding celebration, accompanying the bride to the banquet. They had to be ready, whenever the bridegroom arrived.
In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was often described as God’s bride. Jesus’ parable recalls the way that the love of husband and wife was used as a beautiful symbol of God’s love for his chosen people.
We know that our life on earth will end, but, as Jesus says, we ‘do not know either the day or the hour.’ When the Lord calls us, he wants to find us ready, with our lamps lit. We keep our lamps burning by following Christ’s commandments to love God and love our neighbour; by living a life of prayer and good works. This week, Remembrance Sunday reminds us of the sacrifice of those who died in two World Wars, and in many other conflicts. Their light was snuffed out before their time. As we remember them, we pray for peace in our world today.
Like the wise bridesmaids, the members of the Church should support one another, helping each other to keep our lamps alight. When the time comes, in God’s mercy, we will be invited to share in the wedding feast in the kingdom of heaven.