Posts Tagged ‘The Ten Virgins’

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Mark 13:32-37

Friedrich Wilhelm Schadow: The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Friedrich Wilhelm Schadow: The Parable of the Ten Virgins


We began our exploration of Mark 13 reminding ourselves that we preach the Gospel with each action we perform each minute of each day. What does our life say about our awareness of the importance of watchfulness? Where do our feet take us as we live out the Word? What do our hands do as we move through our days? How carefully do our ears listen to our friends and companions? How honestly do we look others in the eye? How truthfully do we live out our understanding that all temples to self will fall, all teachers and prophets are not authentic, and all tribulations bring us closer to God? Why is it essential to understand that Christ is among us now?  What have we learned from the lesson of the fig tree?

Jesus tells us the Parable of the Ten Virgins:  Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him”.  Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out”. But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves”. And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, “Lord, lord, open up for us”.  But he answered, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you”. Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. (Matthew 25:1-13)

virgin with lampWe are presented with the choice to be foolish or prudent. We are free to decide if we will or will not carry a flask of oil to replenish the lamp of life we have been generously given.  We have ears to hear and eyes to see; yet we do not know the hour and we do not know the day when we will be called to an accounting. What Gospel are we preaching with the days of our lives?

For a fresh perspective on this parable, click on the Bible link above and read another of the preselected versions of this story or choose one of your own . . . and discover how Jesus’ words speak to us in a new way about the old theme of watchfulness

Images from: http://timdedeaux.com/category/prayer/ 

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Matthew 18:6-9: The Little Ones

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Scholars will tell us if Jesus here (and in Mark 9:42-48) is referring only to children when he speaks of the little ones or if he means those who have faith as a child does.  In either case the warning is clear: We must beware of ever leading the innocent and trusting astray for the consequences are great.

In speaking with friends recently I have shared my thought that God is so generous and so magnanimous and so loving that he gives us an infinite number of opportunities to come to him and to behave as the very children he seeks to protect in this reading.  Hell, in this scenario then, is the endless returning to conversion for those who refuse to enter God’s plan.  It seems a just consequence to me that those who abuse others might finally submit to the infinite kindness and mercy they have so often thrown off and this is surely their Gehenna.

The Wedding Banquet

We have also spoken about the language of heaven that is spoken by those who understand and enact the words of love that God lavishes on us.  For those who will not enact the plan of discipleship  God has given us, there will be no way of communicating with others when we pass into the next life.  Hell, in this scenario, is being present – but completely invisible – at a marvelous party.  In this case those who refuse to prepare for The Wedding Feast as Jesus warns in his parables of the Ten Virgins and The Wedding Garment will not have the tools needed to be visible in this new world of joy, compassion, and loss of self in the service to others.  And this is surely a version of Gehenna.

In both of these cases, those who deceive, deny, manipulate, defraud, slander, steal and reject life in this world will have no calculus to understand the celebration they see in the next.  They will have only honed their own dark instruments of death and so they will have no mechanism to understand or to enter into God’s joy.  This then is Gehenna.  It is a shadow world that they, and we, hope to avoid.

How difficult is it then, to prepare our own wedding garment?  What does it cost us to be good stewards of the oil in our lamps so that we are ready for the bridegroom when he arrives? What is the true price of neglecting Jesus’ charge to treat the little ones well?

We will want to spend time with these questions today.

A re-post from October 8, 2012.

Images from: http://endtimepilgrim.org/tenvirg.htm and https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/dont-be-a-wedding-crasher 

To read more about Gehennago to: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6558-gehenna

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