Roses in full bloom at Mission Bay in Auckland.
We get a glimpse of ancient Jewish culture in today’s Gospel from Matthew 25:1-13 with the image of the 10 bridesmaids and their oil lamps waiting for the bridegroom to arrive. One can imagine colour, sounds and aromas, vibrancy, expectation, and joy. Weddings in all our cultures tend to be incredibly significant occasions. They are wonderful family times but also include elements of stress and family dynamics.
Sometimes in our experience of Church weddings the bride can be fashionably late and if it is not too bad people are very understanding. This is her special day after all. In our parable it is the bridegroom who is late. Quite a different scenario. In Jewish culture he set out to the house of his bride with his entourage to take her back to his home. The bridesmaids would accompany the bride on that journey.
Jesus uses this story for us to think about our future and the ultimate future of our world. We are the people who believe that Christ has died, Christ is risen, and that Christ will come again. He is the bridegroom coming to us and we as members of his Church are the bride to be prepared for his coming. The key phrase in the Gospel is the cry that goes out, ‘The bridegroom is here! Go out and meet him.”
Of course, at the end of our lives we want to be united with Christ and to share in the heavenly wedding banquet like the five sensible bridesmaids that greeted him with their oil lamps, who were ready and went into the wedding hall with him. Of course, being united with Christ is something that we yearn for, search for and long for here and now. ‘My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God,’ is the response to the Psalm taken from Psalm 63.
We get glimpses of the bridegroom’s presence when we encounter something beautiful, something moving, something inspiring. It is good to stop and be present to those moments and hold up a light to welcome and recognize him.
You may like to listen to 'To see your face' track 12 from 'Truly Blessed'
Blessings on your week.