. . . the bridegroom . . .

If someone asked you to describe yourself using only one word, what type of word would you choose? Maybe a word that describes your character or your occupation. Or maybe a word that encapsulates what you consider essential in your life.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses a distinctive word to describe himself: bridegroom. This word isn’t used all that often in the Scriptures. But it has deep and rich meaning as it describes God’s relationship with his people over the centuries. Old Testament prophets like Hosea and Isaiah describe the Lord as a bridegroom rejoicing over his bride and remaining faithful to her (Hosea 2:18; Isaiah 62:4-5). When Jesus refers to himself as the bridegroom, he might just have had these images in mind.

So what does the word “bridegroom” tell us about Jesus?

The bridegroom is in love. He chooses from this time forward to give his whole life to the bride. He gazes on her with affection and cherishes her. He is eager to take care of her and serve her. That’s what Jesus does. He lays down his life for his bride, the Church. He wants each one of us to understand just how intensely he treasures and loves us.

The bridegroom is committed. He promises to be faithful to his bride in good times and in bad. Even if the bride is disloyal, he remains dedicated to her. Likewise, even when we sin, Jesus never turns his back on us. He has made a way for us to return to him and be restored. And when we falter, he intercedes for us at the Father’s right hand.

The bridegroom is expectant. He looks forward to life together with his bride, to years of growing closer and deeper in love. Jesus, too, looks forward with joy to the life he will live with us and in us. That life starts now, and it’s fulfilled forever in heaven. Jesus, our Bridegroom, longs to bring us with him into his heavenly kingdom!

“Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see you as our Bridegroom! Open my heart to your deep, profound love!”

Amos 9:11-15
Psalm 85:9-14
Matthew 9:14-17


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