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Gospel for Sunday, November 8: Matthew 25:1-13


1Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise; 3the foolish took their lamps, but they did not take oil with them; 4the wise, on the other hand, along with their lamps, also took oil in small vessels. 5Because the bridegroom was late, they all dozed and fell asleep. 6At midnight a cry went up, “Here is the bridegroom! Go meet him!” 7Then all those virgins arose and prepared their lamps. 8The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps go out.” 9The wise answered, “No, lest it fail us and you; rather go to the sellers and buy some.” 10Now, as those went to buy oil, the bridegroom came, and the virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding, and the door was shut. 11Later the other virgins also arrived and began to say, “Lord, Lord, open to us!” 12But he answered, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” 13Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour

Mt 25:1-13

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather ( Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

In this parable there are numerous strange elements: the fact that the virgins accompany the groom and not the bride, the sleep of all the girls during a wedding party even though it lasted until late in the evening, the purchase of oil at night, which the banquet door is closed. But above all, the groom’s behavior is surprising. “The husband of Mt 25,1-3 is a villain. He behaves with young girls with disproportionate harshness. He, who arrives late, evidently does not feel the need to apologize and takes it out on those whose lamp oil was not enough for the period of his absence. He sends away, at night, half of the young people invited to the wedding, just like that. At the time there were no taxis or street lighting. The groom even states that he doesn’t know these women at all” (K. Berger).

Knowing how to “tend”

Here we are faced with another of the paradoxes of the Gospel, those harsh provocations that aim to highlight great revelations. This passage forcefully reminds us of the dimension of vigil; in fact his conclusion is precisely: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Mt 25.13). It is so important for believers to know how to wait for the coming of the Lord who comes, that the parable even justifies the rude and grumpy behavior of the Groom. An unreciprocated loved one can sometimes lose his mind. Once again, he is such a man-loving God that he suffers passionately if he sees that we are not waiting for him. “To keep watch is to think of Christ, to desire his presence, to feel the lack of him as an unbridgeable void… Jesus loves souls but demands that they reciprocate his love for him” (O. da Spinetoli).

We have lost this dimension of waiting: instead “the characteristic of Christians is that they wait” (Schlatter). Cardinal Newman said: “The Christian is he who awaits Christ”. Or sometimes we await the coming of the Lord with the boredom with which… we wait for the tram at the stop. This evangelical passage invites us to enthusiasm, to joyful vigil, to await the Lord with the anxiety with which the lover awaits the lover, the bride the Groom, the only one who can give us meaning, liberation, fullness of life, Love .

Getting ready

But what does the oil we need to equip ourselves with while waiting mean? For some commentators, this would be precisely the central theme of the parable: not so much vigilance, but how to prepare for the coming of the Lord.

For some, oil represents love, for others faith, for others perseverance or patience. But perhaps it is not specified on purpose what oil it is. The believer must be able to divine the desires of his Lord, just as every lover must be able to anticipate the desires of his beloved.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


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