Until He comes again (and beyond), we are once again called to be His faithful bride — loyal and devoted only to the Bridegroom, in words, thoughts, and actions.
In the Bible, especially in the parables of Jesus, God is often referred to as the Bridegroom who will come for His bride.
But then we ask, “Why isn’t the Bridegroom with His bride?”
During the time of Jesus, before couples got married, there was period of engagement or betrothal. During that time, the man and the woman already agreed and were bound by law to get married. After a period of time, which scholars say twelve months, the man goes to the woman to marry her and take her into his home. His home is also where the wedding feast takes place.
Since the beginning of time, God has betrothed Himself to us. We are to be His and He is to be for us. This is especially apparent when God chose Israel to be His people:
“I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.” — Exodus 6:7
God did not just choose Israel to be His own. He also offered Himself to the Israelites like how a bridegroom offers himself to his bride.
Before the time of Jesus, the Israelites were in a period of betrothal, meaning they were waiting for the Bridegroom to come for them and take them into His heavenly abode.
But in that period of betrothal, what God expected from them were their fidelity to Him, their loyalty, their complete devotion to Him. That’s why His first commandment is:
“You shall not have other gods beside me.” — Exodus 20:3
Jesus even clearly commanded them to love God like how the bride should love the bridegroom — with all of herself:
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind.” — Luke 10:27
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells the disciples of John the Baptist that He is the Bridegroom and He has come for His bride:
“Then the disciples of John approached [Jesus] and said, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast [much], but your disciples do not fast?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Can the wedding guests 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.’” — Matthew 9:14-15
Because the Bridegroom had come for His bride, it was not a time for gloom or fasting. But despite His works, His healings, His teachings, and His miracles, many still did not believe that He was the Bridegroom.
When He, the Bridegroom, came, He found many who seemed faithful in following the law, but were not truly faithful in their hearts, actions, and love for one another.
Today, the Gospel is teaching us to believe in Jesus as the Bridegroom. He has already come for us, His Church, His bride. But until He comes again (and beyond), we are once again called to be His faithful bride — loyal and devoted only to the Bridegroom, in words, thoughts, and actions.
Will He find us, His bride, faithful to Him when He comes for us in order to take us to His heavenly home?