September 6, 2013




All the readings together
Colossians 1:15-20
Psalm 100:1-2,3,4,5

In today's Gospel reading at Mass Jesus is quizzed. "The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, 'The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.' Jesus answered them, 'Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days." (Luke 5:33-39)

You can almost hear Peter thinking to himself: "For once would Jesus answer the question. What in the world did that mean?"

A similar scene unfolds in Matthew 9:14-15: "Then the disciples of John approached him 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.'"

Both conversations have less to do with dietary curiosity and much more to do with their longing to know whether Jesus is the Messiah. John was adamant that he was not the Messiah (Matthew 3:11-12; John 3:22-30) and his disciples knew it. As faithful Jews awaiting the Messiah, John’s disciples are in a sense asking Jesus, "Are you the one we’ve been waiting for?"

Jesus’ response may seem cryptic to the naked eye; however, Jesus’ affirmation that he is indeed the Messiah was veiled in language as deep as the Scriptures themselves.

While many Jews were awaiting a Messianic king (2nd Samuel 7:12), the remnant core of Israel were awaiting the Bridegroom Messiah who would wed humanity with God. In both Isaiah 54 and 62 we read of God’s desire to "be your husband" and "marry a virgin." The Bible itself is filled with references to marriage. It starts with the marriage of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:24) and ends with the marriage of the Lamb and his Bride (Revelation 21:2). Close the Bible and find the exact middle of the Scriptures and we find the Song of Songs, the love poetry between the Bride and Bridegroom. Thus, Jesus responds to their question: "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them"? Jesus proclaims that he is the Messiah, the long awaited one of the Old Testament.

In his 1994 Letter to Families Pope John Paul II wrote that "by describing himself as a Bridegroom, Jesus reveals the essence of God and confirms his immense love for mankind ... In this way he indicated the fulfillment in his own person of the image of God the Bridegroom, which had already been used in the Old Testament, in order to reveal fully the mystery of God as the mystery of love."

Jesus loves humanity that much. He loves you that much.

While you may never have considered his love in such a way, spend the day with Jesus and ask him to reveal his heart—a heart of love.

© Fr. Mark Toups, 2013


This weekend I'm going to introduce a new five-week series entitled: "Who is Jesus?"

This Sunday is week #1: "Jesus is forever pursuing us, He's always taking the initiative".

We'll unpack the Incarnation: the fact that God took the form of man. Jesus is God; however, the incarnation reveals something about the heart of the Father and the heart of Jesus. God is always taking the initiative. God is always reaching out to us. Jesus is forever pursuing us.

How can you prepare for Mass this Sunday?

First: ask yourself ... where do you most need Jesus? What situation, relationship, or aspect of your life do you need Jesus the most?

Secondly: ask yourself ... who do you know that is struggling or in need of Jesus? Maybe you know someone hurting. Maybe you know someone depressed. Maybe you know someone who used to be Catholic, but who left the Church. Maybe you know someone who struggles with sin and doesn't feel as if God loves them. Take a chance. Reach out to them. Ask them if they want to come to church with you this weekend. And, if they do ... meet them right before Mass ... sit with them at Mass ... spend some time with them after Mass and ask them what the Lord did in their heart.


Don't forget: Fr. Mark will begin teaching a class on prayer starting next week! Wednesday, September 11 @ 6:30 PM @ Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church. For more information call 985.447.2013.

Here's another "example" of the kind of things we'll talk about at Oremus.