Access denied; the parable of the ten virgins – Friday, 21st Week in ordinary time – Mt 25:1-13

The reason why the parable of the wise and foolish servants is followed by the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids or virgins, is simply to reiterate a point; the need for readiness for the day of the Lord. These two parables form part of a series of four Matthean parables that illustrate the Parousia and the final judgment.

Matthew, like the Old Testament prophets, employs nuptial imagery to describe the relationship between God and His people (remember the book of Hosea). Clearly the ten bridesmaids are representatives of the disciples whose love grows dim because of the delay of the Parousia (the second coming of Jesus).

The parable which is more of an allegory, employs a number of images that Matthew’s community would have been most familiar with. The Nuptial imagery was further heightened by the banquet imagery, symbolic of messianic banquet at the end times when the blessed would share a meal with the Messiah. Then there was the imagery of the ‘bridegroom,’ symbolic of Jesus Himself.

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