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Sebastian GomesJanuary 12, 2024
Photo from Unsplash.

A Reflection for Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

You can find today’s readings here.

“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.” (Mk 2:19)

It’s no secret to anyone reading the four Gospels that Jesus loved weddings. Otherwise, why would he use this image for his ministry, refer to himself as the bridegroom or compare the Kingdom of Heaven to a wedding feast (Mt 22)? And don’t forget how John’s Gospel depicts Jesus’ first great miracle at the wedding at Cana. It must have been one heck of a party.

Who doesn’t love weddings? They are moments of almost uncontrollable joy. They bring old and new friends together. They bring generations together. They bring families together. Even someone having a bad day or week can’t help but smile when they see a lovestruck couple promise themselves to each other. Close your eyes and remember the last wedding you attended. Picture a moment when you caught yourself unconsciously beaming or crying tears of joy. There’s something elemental about weddings; they are celebrations of humanity at its best.

“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?” Not according to Jesus. That’s like putting a square peg into a round hole. It doesn’t fit. It’s inconceivable. Reflecting on Christian joy, G.K. Chesterton once wrote that, “Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial.” It’s not a question of living in an idealistic alternate reality where sadness, suffering and injustice are vanquished. Jesus is realistic, admitting that “the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them.” But Jesus’ real presence, whether it was during his public ministry 2,000 years ago or in the Blessed Sacrament today, reoriented the ratio of sadness to joy. “By its creed,” Chesterton writes of Christianity, “joy becomes something gigantic and sadness something special and small.”

Perhaps that is why Jesus compared the presence of God to a wedding banquet. Joy is what we’re made for: deep, sure, almost uncontrollable joy.

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