Step #1: Lectio / Read
Today's reading is the Gospel:
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
In today’s Gospel reading, we catch another glimpse of the scribes and Pharisees attempting to call out the Lord for the behavior of his disciples (this was a common practice for these Jewish leaders who were not too pleased with Christ’s somewhat controversial teachings). In this particular instance, they’re not huge fans of the fact that Jesus’ followers were not engaged in as much fasting and solemn prayer as the disciples of other religious leaders. The Lord is quick to respond to the concerns of the scribes and Pharisees by specifically acknowledging, for the first time in the Gospel of Luke, his role as the Bridegroom.
Now let’s pause on that for a second, because this image of Christ as bridegroom is something that shows up everywhere in our Catholic faith (it also happens to be one of titles of Christ, but that’s beside the point). Not only can we see Christ the Bridegroom all throughout Scripture (check out John 2:1-12, Revelation 19:7-10, or Isaiah 61:10 if you’re interested in reading more), but we can also see Christ the Bridegroom in the Sacraments, specifically in the Eucharist. It’s actually common for The Holy Mass to be referred to as The Wedding Feast, where Jesus is the groom and we, as the Church, are the bride.
Now for all my ladies out there, it might be all too easy to imagine yourself the beautiful bride as you approach the altar to receive your groom (aka Jesus) in communion; but I also understand that for the men this might all seem a little bit confusing. So let me be clear: when the Lord refers to himself as the bridegroom and the Church as the bride he is essentially saying that, as the groom, he longs to come to us and to be united through love with us.
This is truly Christ’s deepest desire: to love and to be loved by us. It is why he has chosen to make himself available to us, specifically in the gift of the Eucharist. And yet so often, like the scribes and the Pharisees from today’s Gospel, we don’t realize we are in the presence of the Bridegroom. So often at Mass we become distracted or bored, and we forget that we have been invited to join in a celebration, the celebration of the wedding feast; and not just any wedding feast, but our wedding feast.
Imagine for a moment that you are as invested in your own wedding and reception as you usually are in the Mass. Are you joyful and celebratory, or are you just going through the motions, begrudgingly kissing your bride/groom and lazily dancing to the Cha Cha Slide? My guess is that for many of us, the second scenario is more accurate. And so, my challenge for each of us, myself included, is to make a real effort to actively participate in the Mass. To try our best to remember that it is through receiving our Lord in the Eucharist that we, as the Church, are intimately united with Christ our Bridegroom.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
What makes it difficult for me to acknowledge Christ’s presence in my everyday life?
What are some practical things I can do to become more aware of Christ’s presence in my everyday life?
Do I treat the Mass like it is a Wedding Feast (aka a time for celebration and joy)? Why or why not?
What are some practical steps I can take to be more present during Mass? (Check out this blog [http://lifeteen.com/blog/a-full-contact-sport-why-participate-in-mass/] if you’re running low on answers for this question).
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in you.” (St. Augustine)
“He brought me to the banquet hall and his glance at me signaled love.” (Song, 2:4)
Mary, present me to your Son the Bridegroom.
For The Rest Of Your Day...
If at all possible, take some time today to place yourself before the Lord in the Eucharist (whether it be in a chapel or at Mass) and ask Mary, whose spouse is the Holy Spirit, to show you what it means to know Christ as the Bridegroom.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Lauren Wright.