Love is so mighty, so foundational to reality, that hatred is overwhelmed in the sea of charity. Just as the proud tyrants of Atlantis were swept away by a mighty wave, buried in the sea, so the good God will sweep away our hatred, our pride, and bury them.
As the faithful get ready for Pascha, we are reminded of love: we await the Bridegroom. He will come for His Bride and we need only be ready for the splendid party! The Bridegroom is coming and the bride will be saved. His divine love has no end. The bride is safe, because the Bridegroom’s love is good. The Bridegroom died to save the bride, but lives for the flourishing of the bride (the Church).
Jesus shares the parable of the Bridegroom with His students preparing them for the trial of his death and the coming of Life. Within this beautiful image, Jesus also places a warning. An individual might be indolent. We might choose to be unprepared for the party. Nobody will be allowed to spoil the feast by a passive aggressive refusal to get ready. This is stern, very real, but a bit frightening.
How much is enough?
Reflection and seriousness is good. We must turn godward and seek God’s grace and love or we risk heading the wrong direction: inward instead of upward. A reflection that implodes, stares only at self, can become fearful and turn into self-hatred. We forget that the point is to be those that are ready, not continuously fear being those that are not.
As a comfort, I think, the church places the story of Joseph next to the parable of the Bridegroom. As an image of Christ, Joseph suffers, is “buried” in the prison house, and then exalted. His brothers, those that should have had his back and helped him, were the first cause of his pain. As a result, they are not ready to receive any blessings and love is fearful. Every good gift is a punishment due to their own just guilt.
Beautifully, hopefully, Joseph forgives his brothers when they repent. Joseph says:
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Joseph has love greater than the hatred of the brothers. They need only turn toward him for forgiveness and he is ready to forgive. This brings life to the entire family and salvation to the people of Israel. Taken with the story of the Bridegroom, we can be encouraged.
We should be ready. We should do good: love, not hate. We fail.
We turn away from Jesus, as the brothers did to Joseph, and lie to Father God, as the brothers did to their own father.
Jesus is ready to bless us. We only need to wish that this be so. In the parable of the Bridegroom, our failure is not compensated by taking away from someone else. That is important to see: we cannot demand our folly be paid by those around us.
God chooses to respond in love. God pays the debt and gives blessing where none is to expected. We can join the party, even at the last minute! We do not get what the parable shows we deserve if we change. Instead, we are the brothers before Joseph: saved by grace.
If reading this, there is still hope.
The Bridegroom is coming! May we be ready for joy.