In His Presence, We Celebrate
Readings: Is 58:1-9; Mt 9:14-15
"Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?" Mt 9:15
The medical tests came in. It was cancer. His doctor told him he had six months to live. Now he had to break the news to his loving wife of 30 years. Would she close in on herself and spend the remaining days of his life in mourning? Would she become consumed with anxiety about her life after he was gone?
She cried when she heard the news. They sat on the living room couch and embraced and reflected on what to do next. Then she said, "Let's travel and visit all the places you've wanted to see. Let's dine in fancy restaurants, walk on deserted beaches, and dance under the moonlight!"
She knew full well now was not the time for mourning. Mourning could come later. Now was the time to celebrate his life and rejoice in his presence.
How would we react under similar circumstances? Some of us might feel ashamed to revel. When the disciples of John the Baptist question Jesus as to why His disciples did not fast, Jesus explains simply that there's a time for fasting and a time for feasting. To walk as a disciple of Jesus, side by side with Him, was cause for celebration. Mourning, then, would be as inappropriate as fasting at a wedding feast, He says.
Indeed, Jesus came as "bridegroom" to the Church and to all believers. It's OK to feel joyful in His loving grace. He says a time will come soon enough when He will no longer be with His disciples visibly. Then would be the time for fasting and for mourning.
Jesus told St. Faustina, "The Bride must resemble her Betrothed." Just as we should feel entitled to celebrate in joy our holy covenant with Him, we must also set aside time to mourn His suffering and atone for our sins so that we may be rejoined with Him in heaven.
Dear Lord, transform us into Your spotless bride. May we stand before You humbly and rejoice under Your protection. Amen.
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