“Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?”

Yesterday, as we continued through Matthew (9:14-17), we heard some of John’s disciples questioning Jesus.  They asked why Jesus’ disciples do not fast while they and the Pharisees do fast.  Jesus responds with the line at top and goes on to say that fasting will occur when He is no longer with them.  He closes His remarks talking about how new material is not used to patch old clothes and old wineskins are not used to hold new wine.  Certainly the apostles and other disciples mourned the death of Jesus, but that sadness quickly turned to joy on Easter Sunday.  Christ is risen!  We need not mourn — Jesus has won victory over sin and death.  So even though we see ever-increasing sin and death around us, and we are saddened by it, we know the end of the story.  But we don’t simply just sit back and wait for the Lord.  He has called us to hasten the kingdom (Mt 6:10) by being faithful to His teaching in thought, word, deed, and by evangelizing the world (Mt 28:19-20).  In the closing words of Matthew, Jesus promises to do what He was begged to do on Emmaus Road: “Stay with us.”  What Jesus foretold in the Bread of Life discourse in John 6 and made manifest at the Last Supper (Mt 26, Lk 22) we are beneficiaries of to this day.  We encounter the Bridegroom most prominently in the marriage supper of the Lamb: the Mass.  We also have Him available in every tabernacle and Eucharistic adoration chapel in the world.  When we mourn or are sad or hurting or confused or troubled, we need only to go to Him who forever waits for us and longs for us.  Jesus, as the New Cloth, did not come to patch up the old law but to fulfill it, making all things new.  Jesus, as the New Wine, gives us His Blood in expiation for sin and to fulfill and complete the ineffective sacrifices of the Old Covenant.  We must let Him turn our mourning into gladness as we look forward the eternal happiness that He made possible for each one of us.

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