The Bridegroom Comes

Here is a Christmas homily for you:

My heart overflows with noble words.
To the king I must speak the song I have made…

You are the fairest of the children of men…
Gird your sword upon your thigh…
Ride on in triumph for the cause of truth
and goodness and right…
A scepter of justice is the scepter of your kingdom.
Your love is for justice; your hatred for evil.

God has anointed you with the oil of gladness…
Your robes are fragrant with aloes and myrrh.
From the ivory palace you are greeted with music.
On your right stands the queen in gold.

Anyone recognize this hymn to Christ? Where are the real Scripture scholars? It is the 45th Psalm.

We priests read the Psalms every day. We use a special prayerbook. It is one of our duties to pray the Psalms everyday.

In our prayerbook, after each of the Psalms, there is a prayer to help us understand the meaning of the Psalm.

In the prayer after Psalm 45, we pray: “When you took on flesh, Lord Jesus, you made a marriage of mankind with God.”

A marriage of mankind with God.

The prophet Isaiah referred to this marvelous marriage. The prophet declares to us: “As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so shall your God rejoice in you” (Isaiah 62:5).

A few chapters earlier, Isaiah spelled it out even more clearly: “He who has become your husband is your Maker; His name is the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 54:5).

The Lord God Almighty is the husband of the human race. He started off on earth as a cute little baby, sure enough. But He came to do a man’s work: To defeat the Enemy who held us captive and take us as His own. Christ–fully man and fully God–came to be our Man.

There is more in the 45th Psalm. The second part of the Psalm is addressed to the bride, to the woman about to become the queen:

Listen, O daughter:
Forget your own people and your father’s house.
The king desires your beauty.
He is your lord; pay homage to him.

…She is led to the king with her maiden companions.
They are escorted amid gladness and joy;
They pass within the palace of the king.

God is the Creator of the human race. Even agnostics know this. God is the Ruler of the human race, our Master—even Muslims know this. God makes the rules for us; He is the Lawgiver—the Jews know this.

The place where Christ was born

But only we who are gathered at the crib know the ultimate mystery of God. Only we who have been drawn into the intimate life of the Holy Family; only we who know that God became a baby, and then a sweet and intelligent boy, then grew up to be a noble, wise, beautiful man–the man who gave His life for His beloved…only we Christians know that Almighty God has become the husband of the human race.

We know that God does for us what good husbands do. Yes, He is in charge. Yes, He makes the rules. He maintains discipline and order. He can be stern when He needs to be.

But there is more. Husbands take care of their households, look after them with loving care. The Lord takes care of us like that.

He dotes on us with love. He forgives us our faults and shortcomings. He sees the best in us. He never tires of lavishing us with gifts and tokens of His affection. He thinks we are beautiful. He believes that we are worth dying for.

He is a faithful, long-suffering husband. He never grows tired of us or wanders away. Every day He loves us as if it were the first day of the world.

And every year He gives us this holy feast of His birth. He gives us Christmas Day, for us to renew our youthful love for Him…

O great husband of the human race, the Lord of hosts who died for us: We beg You–take us again as Your own.

We are Yours, and we wish to be more fully Yours. Forgive us our dalliances with the distractions of this world. You know how weak and faltering we are. Give us new strength and a fresh start.

Take us to the altar again, as if for the first time. Make us Yours forever, O dear, sweet Jesus, our love!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s