Sunday’s today’s Gospel, Jesus refers to the social customs of the time of betrothal and then marriage. Some months after the betrothal (engagement) ceremony, the marriage would take place. The marriage consisted of the solemn transfer of the betrothed from the parent’s house to the residence of the bridegroom. This ceremony would usually take place in late afternoon. The escort to accompany the bride usually consisted of the bride’s friends or bridesmaids (unmarried young women). The transfer would begin the moment the bridegroom would arrive at the house of the bride. Once they are at the bridegroom’s house and the gates are shut, the festivities would begin. In today’s parable the bridegroom arrives unexpectedly in the middle of the night. The question is whether the escorting bridal party is ready to receive him.
Jesus is the Bridegroom and He will come again at some future time. The virgins or bridesmaids represent mankind. Some are vigilant, but others are careless. The time of waiting is a symbol of our life on earth. The arrival of the Bridegroom and the wedding celebration signify the inauguration of the state of eternal beatitude in the company of Christ.
THE INVENTOR AND TIRELESS WORKER
It reminds me of a story of the great inventor Thomas Edison. Shortly after he opened his first factory, he noticed that his employees were in the habit of watching the lone factory clock. To the inventor and tireless worker, this was incomprehensible. But he didn’t verbally indicate his disapproval, instead he had dozens of clocks placed around the factory. He set them so that none were keeping the same time. From then on, clock-watching led to so much confusion, that nobody cared what time it was, and the factory workers become more productive.
Let’s not be overly worried about the state of the Church and the world and what may happen next. Christ, the Invisible Head is still in the stern of the Boat (Church), guiding the Church through history despite the current loss of faith for so many and doctrinal confusion. The gates of Hell can never hold out against the Church. Like Christ, the current passion of the Church will eventually result in Her arising to Her greatest splendour.
In the meantime, this is the time of intense prayer for the Church and for peace in the world. Our Heavenly Mother has said that prayer (for example, the Rosary) is more powerful than the atomic bomb! Fr. Hubert Schiffer and three of his fellow Jesuit missionary priests who survived the atomic blast at Hisoshima during the Second World War, by faithfully praying the Rosary are proof of this. The bomb had exploded just 8 blocks from the Jesuit Church of Our Lady’s Assumption in Hiroshima. Let’s therefore push back the action of Satan through the prayer of the Holy Rosary and other works of mercy. This will ensure we have plenty of oil in our lamps when the Bridegroom returns. Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever!