The Ark is to be protected by an elaborate Tabernacle with the Lord dwelling in the Most Holy of Holies, which may only be visited once each year and that remains the privilege of the High Priest alone. The detail in the construction of the Tabernacle is important, right down to the colour of the threads to be used: blue, purple and scarlet.
Blue represents the commandments of God and the importance of remembering them. Purple is associated with royalty and scarlet represents our sin – see Isaiah 1:18.
The people of Israel were also commanded to bring pure olive oil to keep the lamps in the Tabernacle burning continuously day and night, marking the eternal presence of God among His people.
Jesus uses the parable of the ten bridesmaids waiting for the groom, five of whom had brought extra oil and were prepared and five foolish bridesmaids who were insufficiently prepared and subsequently missed the arrival of the groom and the wedding altogether.
This is a reminder for us today to be ready in heart and soul for the time that Jesus will come again. As a further symbol of His constant presence among us, the sanctuary lamp continues to burn night and day beside the tabernacle in our Catholic Churches throughout the world. How lucky we are to have a God who allows us to come so close to Him every day! But how often do we avail ourselves of that opportunity?
Scripture: Exodus 26:1-27:21; Matthew 25:1-30; Psalm 31:1-8; Proverbs 8:1-11