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November 5, 1993     The Message
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November 5, 1993

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_November 5, 1993 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana "- Commentary Ten women at a wedding: Five wise five foOlish Gospel Commentary for Nov. 7, 1993, Thirty-second Sun- day, Ordinary Time, Cycle A. Matthew 25:1.13. Matthew has come to the end of his story of Jesus' life of public ministry. Throughout the gospel he placed five major sermons or dis- COUrses of Jesus. We have arrived at the last of these five discourses. The subject of the last sermon of sus is the end of time and judg- ment. Some of the material in this sermon is in the form of arabl Toda ...... P es. J" parable is called, "The Varabh of the Ten Maidens." A brief SUmmary of the parable: There were ten Young WOmen who took their lamps with them for on:::ng celebration of a wedding. Five of these _ . s. Omen were wise. five were foolish. The wise ::hhharacter of each depends on whether or _ . y orought enough oil in their lamp to keep it gola.g. They came to the nlace of"1 " . t the oride---o .... ebratlon bu a, om was late The we the tim - " men all fell asleep. By laraps ,ae bridegroom finally arrived some of the who d;'_ u uurn. ed up most of their oil. The women oil fro aot bring enough oil asked for a share of the Willin;'tLa,se who brought enough. They were un- o Share because none would have had the foolish women ent to bu more oil ride o . w y grom and the wzse women entered the le the foolish women went to buy doors Were locked when they returned with By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST a new supply of oil. hey were too late and were denied entrance. Matthew closes with the point he wants to make: "Watch, therefore, for you know not the day nor the hour." We do not know how much of this parable originates from Jesus. The parable occurs only in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew may have developed it out of various sayings of Jesus found in a lost gospel called "Q" for the German word "Quelle" meaning "source," and sayings of Jesus Matthew al- ready used in the Sermon on the Mount. The parable as we now have it is an alle- gory or symbolic story. A wedding feast as sym- bolic of the end times is widespread in the New Testament. Whatever the original form of the say- ings (or parable) used by Jesus might have been, it was a warning to the people of his time that the kingdom of God could break into their lives unex- pectedly. Will they be ready? These sayings of Jesus were developed in to allegorical form either by the Church after Jesus or by Matthew for his gospel. Jesus becomes the bridegroom. He is late, i.e. the end that was ex- pected and the return of Jesus had not yet oc- curred as Christians believed that it would. The ten maidens represent individual Christians some of whom are prepared for the return of Jesus while others are not. The oil that causes the lamps to give light represents their good works in accord with the sayng : " "" of JesuS: "Let your light shine be- fore all, that they may see your good wprk and give glory to your Father who is in heaven The form of the parable now .warns Christians to do good works before it is too late. When Matthew incorporates the parableint  his gospel it becomes one of many parahlcs rCs-,:,i ing the delay of the return of Jesus and the,uncer- tainty of when it will occur. Matthew's Church community was in a crisis of faith over the point that Jesus had not returned as Paul and Mark and.-. others had said he would. Matthew tells his people there is a delay, Jesus will return, but no one " knows just when. Because of the uncertainty, , Christians are to use the time to do good works so that they may be ready when Jesus returns. In applying this parable to our own situation  we may say that, except for fundamentalist Chris: tians, there does not seem to be any great concern among us about the return of Jesus. We may never see him coming on the clouds of heaven as de - scribed in the gospels, for that may be no more than symbolism adopted from the Old Testament. What we can be certain of is that our own death is inevitable, but we do not know "the day nor the " .' hour." Death is final. There can be no return to- -,: make up for lost time. The parable warns us to dr> good now while we have the opportunity. We don't want to be caught without oil for our lamps. Other readings: Wisdom 6:12-16; I Ti=essa. lonians 4:13-18 ..... ....... 9 local prO-life organizations EVANSVILLE SERVICE SHOPPING GUIDE EB00ST CO. AT CANAL 424-2441 MILLER & MILLER = Ed. L. Lee = Mortu00; 101 North Meridian Street Carpet Cleaning SERVICE MASTER Estimates zt Heat & Piping Co. Inc. 800 E, Oregon Sales & Service TV & 2-Way FM 1916 W. 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