Mt. 25:1-13

“I tell you solemnly, I do not know you.”
These words of Jesus fall harshly upon the foolish virgins. Why does the bridegroom use such harsh words?
The parable is to be interpreted symbolically. The symbolism here is that of a marriage. Many of the church fathers like Augustine, Jerome and John Chrysostom explained this parable allegorically. Marriage feast is the Kingdom of God. Jesus is obviously the bridegroom. The surprising element here is that the wise virgins refuse to share the oil with the other virgins. Did not Jesus teach to give to those in need? But the point here is different. The oil here is symbolic for the grace of the Holy Spirit that we all have received in baptism. We have to keep this grace burning through our good deeds. Good deeds nourish grace. Foolish virgins are those who have lost this light of grace. They failed to recognise God in their brothers and sisters. The scene of last judgement (Mt. 25) should give us an insight into this. Corporal works of mercy are so important that they increase the grace of God within us. Sleep here is symbolic for death. That means once the door is closed, there is no turning back, there is no repentance. That is why the message of Jesus, ‘stay awake’. Our good deeds help us to grow in the likeness of Christ. Then he will recognise us as his friends and invite us, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (Mt.25:34)