Today we read another love story, symbolically placed in the exact middle of the Protestant Bible with its meaning central to our life with God. This splendid anthem, sometimes called Song of Songs, is sung at weddings and at Passover feasts. When Jesus and his disciples sing a hymn together at the Last Supper (see Matthew 26:30), it may be part of this very song. It is a sacramental hymn that celebrates not only the holiness of married love but also the bonding between God and the human heart, God and the faithful community.
We are so overwhelmed by the sensory splendor of this book’s imagery that we can miss the core meaning of how the human being is released and transformed within the radical power of God’s love. It is essentially the story of a woman released from the autocratic domination of her older brothers, who had turned her into their vineyard laborer. She is set free by the great love of her future bridegroom, who celebrates her radiant strength as well as her beauty.
Today’s verses reveal the longing of her lover seeking the release of his bride. It is also God’s longing seeking us behind our walls of entrapment; seeking any open window or lattice of our being; calling for us to arise, come forth, and enter the fruitful new life offered by God’s love.
Jesus’ passion is transformation within God’s love. I used to wonder why his first miracle is the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Surely a healing would be more appropriate! Then I began to understand the transformation as a sacramental symbol of the new life within God’s love. It is thought that the early Christians had a saying about our transformation: “Jesus found us to be water and changed us into wine.”
God of our life, we seek you because you first sought us. Help us to hear your call of love, which releases and empowers us. Amen.
The reading in Genesis transitions our attention from Abraham to his son Isaac. When Isaac comes of age, Abraham sends a servant to find a wife for him. When the servant meets Rebekah, her kind hospitality convinces him that she is the one. Isaac marries her, and the readings in the psalm and Song of Solomon celebrate nuptial love as a symbol of God’s love. Paul in Romans reflects on the human condition. We desire to do what is right, but we fall short over and over again. What is the solution? God delivers us through Jesus Christ. In Matthew, Jesus emphasizes his intimate relationship with God and invites all who are weary to enter into Christ’s rest.
Read Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67. Which of these or other biblical stories model for you the relationship between God and humanity?
Read Song of Solomon 2:8-13. How have you seen God at work in the way loving relationships have transformed you?
Read Romans 7:15-25a. When have you refused to participate in Communion because you did not feel worthy? How might participating in Communion in times of strife or sin help you be reconciled to God and others?
Read Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30. The life of faith holds many ironies. How do you hold together the seeming opposites of Jesus’ and John’s focus in their ministries? of seeking to be yoked to God when your burden is too heavy?
Responda publicando una oración.