Sunday, November 09, 2014

Would You Have Lent Them Some Lamp Oil?

Today's Gospel reading was from Matthew 25:1-13,

Jesus said, "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, `Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, `No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, `Truly I tell you, I do not know you.' Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
No one would help out the poor foolish ones? I can hear it now, "How unChristian of those wise ones!"

The door that is shut is often considered the difficult part of the parable, and a part that might have been glossed over in many a sermon today, or it might have met with some revisionist interpretation.

It contains a warning that should not be minimized: "Be prepared. Your souls depend on it."

As I listened, a few other tough questions came to mind.
1) If you were one of the wise, would you have lent the foolish some oil?  
2) Would you, the wisest of the wise, have asked for a small contribution of 1/6th of each person's oil to help at least one of the poor foolish ones?
3) Would you, the wisest of the wise, have warned the foolish to keep their lamps unlit until the bridegroom was announced?
Taken in inverse order,
3) Warning the foolish usually is to no avail. 
2) Saving one fool would likely cause a riot amongst the rest of the foolish, the end result (torn and dirty clothes, ruined hair, nails and make up) of which the bridegroom would not particularly like. 
1) The danger of lending the foolish oil (treasure) should seem obvious from the outcome of the parable.
I guess this is something else to consider as we fill out our pledge cards.


  1. Pewster,
    We think alike. Like love, we have also lost the meaning of "Mercy". The first spiritual mercy is admonishment. The unwise virgins would get a second chance in the gospel according to TEc because they are wisdom challenged.

    1. The degrees of spiritual mercy sounds like a good blog subject.

  2. The Corporal Works of Mercy
    1 Feed the Hungry
    2 Give drink to the thirsty
    3 Clothe the naked
    4 Shelter the homeless
    5 Comfort the imprisoned
    6 Visit the sick
    7 Bury the dead

    The Spiritual Works of Mercy
    1 Admonish sinners
    2 Instruct the uninformed
    3 Counsel the doubtful
    4 Comfort the sorrowful
    5 Be patient with those in error
    6 Forgive offenses
    7 Pray for the living and the dead

  3. Great question. Of course the hypothetical question begs the existential one, "when was the last time you shared your "oil" with anyone?"
    thank you.

    1. Just a couple of minutes ago with a holy hug!