The bridegroom is coming!

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first_img Sharing is caring! Share Tweet FaithLifestyleLocalNews The bridegroom is coming! by: – November 7, 2011 Sharecenter_img 34 Views   no discussions Image via:stickfiguresclipart.comMarriage customs vary all over the world, and different cultures have their own traditions. I grew up some familiarity with Hindu weddings. A Hindu wedding went on for days. It was very popular with us as boys. Most often, you didn’t need an invitation; and there was always plenty of food. On the actual day of the wedding, the bridegroom came, resplendently gowned and crowned, to the bride’s house –the venue for the wedding was always the bride’s house — and the festivities began in earnest when he arrived.A similar sort of custom lies behind today’s parable. The bridegroom appeared at the bride’s home at a time of his own choosing, a feature of surprise that was part of the ritual. One can imagine the level of expectancy in a village generated by the fact of not knowing. He could come at any moment. When he finally left his house, an attendant or messenger would run ahead – there were no cars; all processed on foot – shouting ‘the bridegroom is coming!’ That galvanized action in a hurry all along the way to the bride’s house.Listeners to Matthew’s gospel would have immediately seen the import of the failure of the bridesmaids to welcome to groom when he appeared. The reference was of course to the Jews who had long been expecting the Messiah, and did not welcome him when he came. He came unto his own, as St. John would later write, and his own received him not.The early Christians would have heard something slightly different. They would have seen it in terms of being prepared or unprepared for the Lord’s second coming. In the early days of the Church, in a way we can no longer grasp, the second coming was felt to be something imminent. The Lord could come at any time, no one knew when. You needed to be vigilant and awake, because he could appear suddenly, like a thief in the night. You had to be on your guard and not be caught napping like the foolish bridesmaids.It’s impossible for us to identify with any sense of immediacy about the second coming, which is one of the main themes of Advent. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again – we also say every day in the Eucharist, but this is more a declaration of faith than an actual posture of anticipation.The coming of Christ is more immediately meaningful in an existential sense, i.e. he may come for me, I known not when. I must be prepared for that day, which may be any day.It’s a salutary practice to think of one’s death from time to time, and not only when one goes to funerals. The thought of death, Samuel Johnson, once wrote, wonderfully concentrates the mind. By that he meant it makes for a special sense of attentiveness and focus. One looks critically at oneself and asks what needs to be done to become something other than the half-finished persons we all are. In this sense, the thought of Christ’s coming still remains a wake-up call. It means we must be wakeful and alert, and trim our lamps while we still have still time.By: Father Henry Charles PhD Sharelast_img

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