Isaiah 58:1-9; Ps 51 A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn; Matthew 9:14-15
Bridegroom. This is the identity Jesus calls his own in today's gospel.
"Can the wedding guest mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast."
There is something lovable about the image of bridegroom as the paramount identity of Jesus.
Bridegrooms are ready and willing to give of themselves. They are willing to risk all for the one they love. They are eager and determined and joyful about the prospect of being tied down to one woman for the rest of their life.
Bridegrooms are mysterious creatures that are all in all the time. They keep nothing back for themselves. They love their bride. They think she is the best there is or ever will be.
They stand erect eager in anticipation.
All of this describes Jesus in his relationship to us.
He is eager for us. He loves us. He has shown himself willing to lay down his life for us. He risks everything for us.
Jesus is all in all the time, always and forever, true.
We fast so that we can imitate his desire, to reciprocate his desire, to hunger for him as he hungers for us.
Jesus shows us the proper way to fast with his life. He lives out fully what Isaiah describes as essential in getting it right: Set free the oppressed, break the yoke, sharing your bread with hungry, sheltering the oppressed an homeless, clothing the naked, and not turning your back on your own.
The last one is a summary of all of them: not turning your back on your own.
There is a good lenten task for us as we seek to reciprocate the love of the bridegroom.
For whom have we turned our back if it not be Christ himself in disguise.