Today’s Gospel is the first of the three parables in Chapter Twenty-five of Matthew’s Gospel. Each of them deals with something we must achieve by the end of our lives in order for those lives to be deemed successes. Let me mention the second and third parable before coming back to the first
The second parable is the one about a king entrusting his servants with gold talents, requiring them to make good use of them. Obviously, by that parable Jesus was telling us we will be judged on the use we have made of our talents and advantages.
The third parable has the king separating souls into two groups. On his right are all those who showed concern for needy people. On the left are those who ignored the needs of others. So, Jesus was there telling us we would be judged on the kindness we have shown or not shown to the needy.
But today we have the first of the three parables. It pictures ten maidens who were sent out to escort a groom and his new bride into their walled city. When the groom and the bride were slow coming the ten maidens fell asleep. Then, when the wedding party appeared suddenly late at night the maidens quickly arose to trim their lamps to escort the party into the city.
Five of the maidens found their lamps had burned up all their oil, so they asked for some from the other five. That five, though, hadn’t any extra, so they sent the first five off to buy oil.
While they were gone the bridal party came hurrying along. The maidens with the oil escorted them into the town. The city leaders immediately shut and bolted the gates, leaving the late coming maidens outside.
The sufficient supply of oil stands for something we must have at the end of our days. What might that be? It would be that we will be living in friendship with God. We will be in the state of Sanctifying Grace.