I have been spending much of my prayer and contemplation time lately reflecting on this very theme, Jesus as the Bridegroom. In my own life, 17 years of a very deep and loving marriage is bringing me to a vague understanding of the implications of this reference. In the most hidden and personal part of our prayers, there is a longing and a hunger for oneness with God. The passion and intense love I have for my husband becomes a symbol of that relationship. It is fitting that marriage is celebrated as a Sacrament, for it reveals an eternal mystery. Our love as individuals and as a people for our God is as tentative and imperfect as we are. But the love of Jesus for me, for us, is a constant. Indeed, there are times that I find it to be an overwhelming constant. We do tend to create our own images of Jesus as residing far above us, having little to do with 'the real world.' But I am beginning to see that this person, Jesus, loves me with a passion that brings Him pursuing me through the ages. There are moments when I think I touch on the passion I have for Him. Those moments bring with them a light more brilliant than I can describe.
In your homily, a statement that has remained with me is; "... If Jesus is the bridegroom, the image of the people as bride involves an inner youthfulness..." This reminds me of an article I read once that supposed the reason men are attracted to younger women is because subconsciously, men equate a woman's youthfulness with fertility. Following that same analogy, as Bride, part of our relationship with the Bridegroom should then also involve being ready to bring life to the world. My daughter is a testament to the love I have for my husband. She has his dark eyes; those eyes I can stare into for hours at a time. She has my hair; the hair he gently brushes from my eyes in the middle of the night. If this very human love of husband and wife can bring with it such life, I can only imagine what miracles we can bring to the world with the love of Jesus. Even with your website and your writing, you bring life thousands of miles away. You touch lives no one can ever know with the witness you bear. I hope that in my life I do the same. This Jesus of ours is a passionate lover.
When I was teaching the RCIA class in my parish last week, I saw people react to this notion. We usually have the teenagers in a separate class from the adults, but in the final weeks before Easter, they have been coming to class with the adult Candidates and Catechumens. The theory is to help both groups get to know each other, or something like that. There is one woman in the class who seems to have a real grasp of Jesus as Bridegroom. She began talking about how she sees Him as a lover. The kids thought that was the funniest thing they had ever heard. Every time she said "lover," they started giggling. I could see that they were very uncomfortable with the concept. Passion and Jesus seemed unrelated to them. I find that in my own life, I am often torn between these two extremes. Part of me wants and desires Jesus with the deepest passion of my soul. Another part realized that this new life awaiting me is filled with change, with love and ideas unknown to me. I hesitate. I am glad the Bridegroom is patient...
I very much appreciate your website, your homilies and other writings.
Please take a look at Joanne's Website (especially her Religious Art section)