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November 8, 1996     The Message
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November 8, 1996

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1996 The Message --for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 Commentary-_ Waiting for the bridegroom: Christians await the parousia be Gspel Commentary for Vember 11, 1996: Thirty.See. tory Time: Matthew 25:1-13 The last of the five great dis- COUrses Matthew composed fi)r his contains Jesus&apos; - . sayl ngs Apostles." Part of Matthew's dealing with this problem was the inclusion of four parables within the eschato- logical discourse. The third of these tbur parables is called "the parahle of the l0 maidens." It occurs only in Matthew's gospel and is thought to have been developed by him out of destruction of the tern two savin,s of Jesus found only in fJerusalem, the end ofti -  ,a, ,.2", q ._, "  and the advent ,,r, ...... me ............. - ......... 13..2a... . o asju&, ,. --me on o! man .......... Matthew begins' the kingdom ot b. lnls se tJy rltttt , ' . "the escha .... rmon is known as DON DII-PR heaven treign of God) is hke 10 OlOR'IC " , .  theGreek. % al discourse trom c.cLUMNIq T maidens who take then" lamps and - wore1 mea:--<," , ,v , about t., .. ',,-, woros go to meet tbe bridegroom. Five were ,,e mst thin ,s ..... ' " , , 9 COurse;o e_ .. g Fhls dis- INNINN  fbohsh, five wise. How so, Fwe took and L,,I. una m Mark, Matthew, extra oil for their lamps in case there a;la:rd d,ffers from gospel to gospel. Mark was a delay, the, other five did not. There was a . r, cruse to the time of the persecution of lengthy delay. At midnight the bridegroom was at Rome during the sixties and the siege announced. The 10 maidens readied their lamps but salem and the temple from se events seem to have convinced him ly others that the end of time and of Jesus were at hand. Thus his gospel on of impending rescue and doom. Jesus' first words in Mark are time is at hand." however not to be and Matthew and to deal with the thct that the end did not expected. Therefore they developed, SOmetimes even contradicted the in their attempt to deal with what seemed to them as a change in the divine of the parousia or return of Jesus. Part lg with the delay was to write of his gospel. We call it "Acts of the foolish noticed their lamps were dimming for lack ofoil. They asked the five wise maidens to share their oil, but they could not because there was not enough to share. So the five foolish maidens went to buy more oil while the five were let into the banquet hall for the marriage banquet. The door was bolted. The foolish girls returned and begged to be admitted: "Lord, Lord, open to us!" The bridegq'oom replied: 'I dofft know you." Matthew adds: "Watch therefore, for you do not know the day or the hour." In a parable there is one basic comparison between an element in the story and the audience. In the parable of the 10 maidens the audience is asked to compare itself to the 10 maidens. Since Jesus is talking about the kingdom of heaven or the reign of God the question they are asked is this: are they ready for the breaking in of God's kingdom? Matthew however placed this parable in a specific contest, tie is dealing at length with the delay of the kingdom of heaven which in this case seems to mean the return of Jesus. The parable becomes an allegory, i,e. instead of one comparison there are many. We know little about marriage customs or" mar- riage celebrations of the first century. We would ask why there are 10 young women who seem to be bridesmaids, no groomsmen, and why does the bridegroom lock himself in with only the brides- maids? Such are not Matthew's concerns, tte has important matters to teach. Jesus is the bridegroom of the story. All four gospels and other early Christ- tan literature refer to him as bridegroom. The wed- ding celebration is the consummation of time, the coming of God's kingdom in the return of Jesus. In early Christianity Christians anxiously and with great longing waited for the return of Jesus. The 10 maidens who wait for the bridegromn therefore rep- resent all Christians. The oil for the lamps repre- sents good works. Some have enough. Some don't. The bridegroom, here called "Lord," arrives. The negligent need more time. They leave to make up for their lack of preparation, but it is too late. The wedding begins, The door is locked. Would anyone want to be among those who were unprepared, needed more time, and upon arrival hear the words, "I don't know you?" It is not the parousia that con- cerns us most, but rather the hour of our death. "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." Readings: Wisdom 6:12-16; I Thessalonians 4:13.18. OIS COUNTY BANK MEMBER OLD NATIONAL BANCORP Member FDIC FIVE STAR SERVICE BANK CUstomers send their friends!" 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