Franciscan Sister Jacqueline Spaniola just completed teaching the class Jesus the Bridegroom. Brant Pitre’s book by that title was required reading. Pitre desires to show the key to unlocking the mystery of the ‘bridegroom’ found throughout Scripture from Mount Sinai to Mount Calvary. Thus, the class explored the divine love story of God and Israel and Christ and his bride.
Sister Jacqueline asked participants to fill out a reflection paper with these questions. Here are some responses.
Name five concepts that touched your life during this book study.
- Jesus is our divine bridegroom. Everyone is blessed to have this relationship.
- In the Bible Genesis begins with the marriage of Adam and Eve. The Gospels tell the story of the Messiah’s wedding day. The Song of Songs in the middle of the Bible is an allegory of the soul imaging God as the bridegroom and focuses on the spiritual union between God and the individual. The Bible in the first pages, in the middle and at the end is all about a marriage of God and humanity.
- John the Baptist is the best man, the friend of the bridegroom. He literally brings others to Jesus.
- We are all the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus continues to wait for us to ask for living water. Our past does not matter.
- Jesus, the true bridegroom, wears a crown on his head on his Wedding Day (the Crucifixion). It was a Jewish custom for the bridegroom to wear a crown.
Choose 2 of the above concepts and briefly explain how they touched you.
As religious women, voluntary celibacy is a sign of the kingdom of God. It is living now what life will be like in the age to come. We are brides of God in the sense that we live like the glorious wedding of God and his people in the Resurrection is already a present reality.
This spousal relationship does not take away from the goodness of matrimony. Christ is the center of all Christian life. The bond of love with him takes precedence over all other bonds. “Every single Christian, whether single or married, man or woman, priest or virgin, monk or nun, husband or wife-every baptized person-is inextricably caught up in the great mystery of the love of God.”
Whether the crown on the head at the marriage or the serving of wine at a feast, the traditions of the Jewish people come alive when reading this book. Faith is enriched by learning about Jesus’ heritage e.g. ritual washings. The sacraments, too, are better understood. “Baptism is an outward, public sign of inward repentance from sin.” It is also “the bridal bath by which Jesus cleanses us from sin so that we can be united to God.”
What I enjoyed most about the class was…
It is good to read something life-changing. It is better to read it and have it taken apart and discussed with others. Sacraments come alive and one’s relationship with Christ is allowed an opportunity to be deepened