“The LORD takes delight in His people. The Lord loves His people. Let the faithful exult in glory and let them sing for joy“ (Ps 149:4-5). Today’s responsorial psalm calls us to rejoice at the epiphany of the newborn King, the Beloved Son at His baptism, and the Bridegroom who manifested His glory at the wedding feast of Cana. He shows His delight by remembering His promises to His people Israel and raising up a mighty savior as the Canticle of Zechariah proclaims. Alleluia!
The “delight of my eyes” and I have just celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary. I still remember our wedding mass with a lump in my throat and grateful tears in my eyes, as my beautiful bride walked down the aisle to the altar on the arm of her father. Like all brides, she wanted my first glimpse of her on this our special day to be a surprise. Her hair was arranged perfectly in long blond curls and her wedding gown was exquisite. But most importantly, her glowing smile made me feel like the luckiest groom in the world. I knew that I was loved then and still do now, fifty years later. She is still the delight of my eyes. My best man, my brother, who is also my best friend, shared the joy of that ceremony with us. Eighteen months later I was able to rejoice with him when we changed places and he was happily married.
In today’s gospel, some of John the Baptist’s followers jealously reported that Jesus’ disciples were also baptizing. Not only was John not concerned about this, but he said that he was like the groom’s best man, listening and rejoicing that the Bridegroom is now finally united in marriage with his Bride. His heart is overflowing with joy. John’s voice has been heard and is fading into the background. This leads us to another John.
The beloved disciple, the apostle John, the author of the first reading, left John the Baptist to follow Jesus, the Lamb of God. In today’s reading, he writes with great confidence to the beloved (the Church, the Bride of Christ) who are threatened by those who deny Jesus as the Son of God. He has confidence that Jesus hears us when we pray to Him. Would not the Bridegroom respond to any request of His Bride? St. John reclined on the breast of Jesus at the Last Supper. It was to John and to the Bride, that Jesus gave His Mother Mary and the Holy Spirit. He says five times in our reading “we know”, underlining his faith in and his love for the Bridegroom. By faith, by Baptism and by the Holy Eucharist, we can “know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, to know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (I Jn 5:20 RSV-CE).
Points to Ponder: Do we rejoice in the voice of the Bridegroom like John the Baptist?
What blocks our intimacy with Jesus, our Bridegroom?