Some people asked him, “The disciples of John fast often and say long prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why is it that your disciples eat and drink?” Then Jesus said to them, “You can’t make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them. But later the bridegroom will be taken from them and they will fast in those days.”
Jesus also told them this parable, “No one tears a piece from a new coat to put it on an old one; otherwise the new will be torn and the piece taken from the new will not match the old. No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed as well. But new wine must be put into fresh skins. Yet no one who has tasted old wine is eager to get new wine, but says: The old is good.”
In today’s gospel reading Jesus refers to himself as our bridegroom. And indeed he is. Here perhaps some super-macho male Christian might feel uneasy at the thought of being anyone’s wife, however divine and transcendent that someone might be. But such a reaction is really unwarranted. Our bodies are either male or female, and consequently are attracted to and are meant to complete the gender they happen to lack. But our soul is different. In reference to God it is decidedly feminine (even grammatically it seems to be of the feminine gender in most languages) and feels spontaneously attracted to God as a bride to her bridegroom. This human trait is universal and has been described by countless spiritual authors. For instance, a Carthusian monk writes in the same vein in his book The Way of Silent Love: “God,” he says, “never surfeits us with the gift of himself but creates in us an ever larger capacity for love and, having done this, he replenishes us with a desire, a thirst, more ardent still. And it will always be this way with God for eternity without end, because God is without end. If we arrive at the end, it is not God” (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1993, p. 28).
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