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Posts Tagged ‘Christ as Bridegroom’


Jeremiah 11, 12 and 13: The Infinity of True Happiness

Saturday, May 11, 2019

These three chapters are filled with sad yet beautiful images, and they follow closely on the heels of a conversation which I have just had with a close friend.  The wicked appear to prosper – they have the immediate joys of this world – the faithful gain, through their suffering, the joy that is abiding and eternal.  True happiness comes from knowing that the correct thing has been done, that justice has been enacted, the broken-hearted have been tended to, the weary have been comforted, the exiled welcomed home.  True, deep and abiding happiness permeates the body, the soul, the mind and the heart when God is allowed to dwell within, when a welcome hearth and table have been laid for the guests, when the Spirit finds a resting place within us.  True, deep and abiding happiness blooms when the soul finds its homing path to the Creator.  True, deep and abiding happiness engenders serenity – even during conflict – when the ego is emptied of self and Christ steps in.  Today, on this Feast of The Sacred Heart, we celebrate the groom who takes us to himself.

The verses from Jeremiah speak of complaint, corruption, a broken wine flask, disgrace, skirts stripped away, violation, sacrifices to no avail . . . yet this prophet asks, as we ought, in chapter 12: You would be in the right, O Lord, if I should dispute with you; even so, I must discuss this case with you.  Why does the way of the wicked prosper, why live all the wicked in contentment?

He challenges further: How long must the earth mourn, the green of the whole countryside wither?  For the wickedness of those who dwell in it, beasts and birds disappear because they say, “God does not see our ways.”  If running against men has wearied you, how will you race against horses?  And if in a land of peace you fall headlong, what will you do in the thickets of the Jordan?

He speaks of innocence defiled: Yet I, like a lamb led to slaughter, had not realized that they were hatching plots against me: “Let us destroy the tree in its vigor; let us cut him off from the land of the living so that his name will be spoken no more.”

Then the answer to this plaint finally arrives: Give ear, listen humbly, for the Lord speaks.  Give glory to the Lord, your God, before it grows dark; before your feet stumble on darkening mountains; before the light you look for turns to darkness, changes into black clouds.  If you do not listen to this in your pride, I will weep in secret many tears; my eyes will run with tears for the Lord’s flock, led away to exile. 

Tears shed in mourning and petition rise to the Lord in a cloud of incense.  Suffering offered as an act of redemption in unity with the Christ ends the wickedness.  Our mourning becomes dancing with the indwelling of the Spirit.  The economy of God’s plan must and will be fulfilled – in a kaleidoscope array of acts of kindness that counteracts acts of scandal.  Division is transformed into union in a symphony of promise and fidelity as the Lord turns all hate to good.

There is no place, no thing, no person who heals as does the touch of Christ.  There is no achievement, no award, no comfort as lasting as is the true knowledge of Christ.  There is no separation, no sin, no evil that cannot be bridged by the covenant with Christ or undone by the strength of Christ.  There is no miracle, no impossibility, no marvel that cannot be achieved by the courage of Christ.  There is no harm, no sinner, no lost sheep that cannot be converted by the love of Christ.

Christ is the transforming bridegroom which Jeremiah promises in later chapters.  This groom will write his vow of fidelity on our hearts.  Let us open ourselves to this Lord.  Let us open ourselves to this pledge.  Let us open ourselves to this miracle of love . . . in this place where the wicked no longer prosper.


A re-post from April 26, 2012.

A Favorite, written on May 30, 2008 and posted today.  The Feast of the Sacred Heart is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost and in 2012 it falls on June 15.

For more information on the touch of grace in Haiti through Samaritan’s Purse International Relief in Haiti, click on the image above or go to: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/encounters_with_grace/

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Luke 6:1-11Debates 

A Wedding Feast

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Today’s reading may be familiar to us – the announcement that the Bridegroom is among us. We hear this and yet so many of us forget or deny that he is here because the work to witness, watch and wait is difficult.  The witnessing takes its toll, the watching drains us, the wait seems interminable. And so we retreat to take refuge in the Lord.

Throughout the Gospel stories Jesus is questioned, and often with the aim of entrapping him in an inaccurate statement. We learn much from the consistent way Jesus responds: he 1) asks questions, and he 2) refers to Scripture – and his questioners are all familiar with Scripture.  Jesus is engaged in a constant vaivén (Spanish for a “coming and going”) as he wades into conflict and then retreats to recoup and to return to his source – the Father. Jesus is also aware of the fact that many of his questioners are not interested in redemption; but want to persecute and eliminate him.  How did he maintain his equanimity?  By a constant cycle of witnessing and retreating.

When questioned about why his followers pick grain on the holy resting day, Jesus responds by healing a man with a withered hand.  When the Pharisees focus on a narrow point of the Law, Jesus offers a wider, more merciful and loving horizon.  When Jesus heals and restores, his enemies become enraged and plot Jesus’ end. And what is Jesus’ response?  Does he retaliate with greater might?  Does he use harsh words?  Does he lecture?  No, he heals, he asks questions, he retreats to pray and restore.

Dearest God, remind us every day that you have sent us someone who will show us how to heal, to question, to retreat back to you for restoration.  You know our depths.  You know our faults.  You know our gifts.  Remind us that we are yours, that you love us, that you hold us without letting go.  Remind us that the constant irritants that prick our eyes and sting our ears are nothing.  Remind us that at any moment, in any space, we may withdraw and depart to the mountain to pray and to even spend the night in prayer with you as Jesus did. And, dearest God, thank you . . . Amen.

To learn about wedding customs in Jesus’ time, and about putting new wine in new skins, click on the image above or visit: http://www.emmanuelenid.org/archive/component/k2/item/1047-new-wine-in-old-skins-the-impossibility-of-mixing-religious-traditions-and-christ-s-grace 

Adapted from a reflection written on October 15, 2007.

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Revelation-Lion-and-the-Lamb1

The Lion of Judah becomes the Lamb of God

Wednesday

January 7, 2015

Joy and the Beast

Revelation 19:7

The New Testament closes with the apocalyptic verses written by John of Patmos. Filled with extravagant symbolism and vivid descriptions of the coming end, these verses are best understood with a solid commentary. With its origin in a time of crisis, Revelation’s metaphors bring us the good news that each of us is the beautiful bride about to enter into holy and eternal union with Christ, the bridegroom. These are words that surprise the faithful . . . and us . . . with joy.

Just when turmoil and crisis are about to take over the new church of Jesus-followers, John of Patmos writes that they are saved in extravagant style. The message here is simple. “Hold on. Stand fast. Your hope will not be disappointed. Your joy is upon you”.

Revelation 19:7: Let us be joyful and glad! Let us give him glory! It is time for the Lamb’s wedding. His bride has made herself ready.

Linda Harris-Lorio: Dance of the Bride

Linda Harris-Lorio: Dance of the Bride

“Persecution and suffering were undoubtedly real. These [early] Christians were faced with the choices of all who suffer oppression. Were they to resist violently and seek the overthrow of Rome? That was futile as well as contrary to their ethos. Were they simply to cooperate? That would be to lose their identity. They chose the path of passive resistance. They did not fight the beast, but neither would they do its bidding”. (Senior RG 575-576)

John of Patmos speaks to any of God’s faithful who suffer at the hands of unethical, dishonest or oppressive leaders; and he speaks to us today as we begin to close our Joy Through Scripture Series of reflections. What was true for the early Christians is also true for us: even in the most dire of circumstances, the faithful need not struggle against the oppression they experience. They – and we – can never be devoured by the beast. They – and we – are the bride of the eternal, forgiving, loving, redeemer Christ. Against this one, no beast will prevail. With this one, the faithful will survive. For this one the world has been waiting. Through this one, the faithful live in timeless, ever-present joy.

joyLet us move forward today in acceptance of this gift that is so graciously and wonderfully given in the darkest of times and places, the gift of Christ’s redeeming joy in us.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 572, 575-577. Print.

For information on the life of John of Patmos, visit: http://www.usccb.org/bible/revelation/0

Visit the PBS Frontline resource and read about the author of Revelation:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/apocalypse/revelation/white.html  

Explore the Frontline topics and consider how Christ’s joy might change the balance of power and the influence of corruption in our own lives. Spend time also considering how each of us might bring Christ’s joy to the world.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

 

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