Commentary for Sunday: 12th November

Matthew 25, 1-13

Sunday, November 12th, 2023 (32 OT A)

“At that time Jesus told his disciples this parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven will be like ten maidens who took their lamps and went out to wait for the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but left the oil behind, while the sensible ones took their lamps with them”.

In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus tells us the parable of the ten girls who go to a wedding feast, and some are foolish and some are wise.

According to the custom, when some months had passed since the betrothal, the bridegroom with his friends led the bride to the house of the bride’s family, and there the banquet was held. The bride would wait in courtship with her friends. It was a non-religious ritual and was celebrated in the evening, hence the need for lamps.

Analysing the parable, the important thing is not the people, but the light. Without a lighted lamp, there was nothing to be seen in the procession. It was necessary to bring the oil that feeds the lamp, which gives light at the cost of consuming the oil. The important thing is to give light, but in order to give light, oil is necessary.

Jesus had told us: “you are the light of the world”. And we are light if our life illuminates our surroundings. And for that our life has to be full of meaning, to have found “true wisdom”, as the first reading tells us.  And it will illuminate if the oil that feeds it is love.

Five of the bride’s friends were unwise and did not provide themselves with oil, and they asked the others, who could not give it to them. If oil is love, one cannot love in the name of another. We cannot neglect to live from love. Being vigilant is not a reference to the end of life, but a wake-up call in case we are living without realising that we may be “lacking the oil”, living by loving.


Juan Ramón Gómez Pascual, cmf

Are you ‘lacking oil’?


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