Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (25: 1-15) in which Jesus tells the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids who are waiting for the bridegroom to come.

Fr Paul says, in the time of Jesus, the principal moment of a wedding was when the groom went to pick up the bride from her father’s house and take her to his own house. The lamps, as they call them in the Gospel would have been torches, that is oil-soaked rags placed around the end of a stick and these were used to help him move from one house to the other.

In a typical black-and-white Matthean parable, the point is not that they all went to sleep, but that only some had brought oil in which to soak the rags. In Matthew this would be regarded as a good work (like the wedding-garment parable in Mt 22:12). The point is not about alertness, which yesterday’s Gospel was about. Today it is about being prepared. It is not that the silly girls did not have enough oil; they simply did not have any; no wonder their torches kept going out!

The story is a single-point parable on the need to prepare ourselves for when we move from this earthly house and are joined with God in our heavenly home.

In closing, Fr Paul invites each of us to reflect on ‘How prepared, how ready, am I?’