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A Lenten Wedding Feast

Blog by Sr. Shirley Bodisch, OP

In today’s Gospel from Matthew we find the disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees puzzled about Jesus’ disciples not fasting several times a week as they do.  Jesus gave a startling answer: one cannot fast during the wedding feast while the bridegroom is there.  What about the bride?  Well, Israel is the bride, espoused by God.  And when Jesus gave that answer, he spoke as God spoke by the prophets, Isaiah 62:4-5 and Hosea 2:18, 21-22.  Might we assume that Jesus is the bridegroom ushering in the reign of God, gathering the wedding guests (that’s us) around the celebration of God’s festal table?  If so, we, the community of God’s people, are invited to rejoice that the Bridegroom is still with us.  So what is it with penance during the Lenten season? 

I think that the co-celebrations or better yet, the co-remembrances of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday this year are not a fluke.  I think they are a reminder to us that it is the great Love of God which continually calls us to deepen our relationship, to readjust the center of our lives where the Beloved of our hearts truly dwells.  Is it possible to begin Lent with joy in our hearts?  Of course, it is!  Because as we begin our Lenten journey again this year, we need to keep in mind that the Bridegroom journeys with us.  The Joy of God’s Love never leaves us.  Yes, we may fall back into unwanted habits, of making wrong choices with our lives, but the truth is we are the new Israel, the people of God, the Community that God gathers around the Son as he proclaimed the coming of the Reign of God.  We are living in this reign now as it continues to evolve.  Although in our human weaknesses, we need to consistently readjust our inner direction, we are encouraged to do so with joy because the Presence of the Bridegroom is with us. Let us then go forward into this season of deeper prayer, of fasting from the lure of resisting what God wants and of lovingly giving forth out of ourselves this joy to each other because the Divine Presence of our Beloved One is all around us.   Happy Lent.

2 thoughts on “A Lenten Wedding Feast

  1. So Grateful Shirley for the many connections you made for us in your reflection on the Word. I hope to remember when I find myself doubtful or troubled by some news that the Bridegroom is with me always. I only need to turn to Him for help. The joy of listening to the bridegroom brings new life. God bless your continued preaching of the Good News!

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