Matthew: 25: 1-13

The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom.[a] Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil. The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps.

The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep. Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, “Here’s the groom! Come to meet him!”

When the girls got up and started getting their lamps ready, the foolish ones said to the others, “Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.”

The girls who were wise answered, “There’s not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves.”

10 While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed. 11 Later the other girls returned and shouted, “Sir, sir! Open the door for us!”

12 But the groom replied, “I don’t even know you!”

13 So, my disciples, always be ready! You don’t know the day or the time when all this will happen.

What does Jesus want to teach us with this parable? He reminds us that we must be ready to meet him. Many times in the Gospel, Jesus exhorts to be vigilant, and he does so at the end of this story. He says, “So be vigilant! For you know neither the day nor the hour ”(v. 13). But with this parable he tells us that being alert is not just about not sleeping, it is about being prepared. All virgins fall asleep before the bridegroom arrives, but when they are awakened some are ready and some are not. So here’s the meaning of being wise and careful: it’s about not waiting until the last moment of our lives to work with God’s grace, but about doing it now.