The Bridegroom has come

Friends in Christ, an ancient tradition of the Church says, that 3 events in the life of Christ occurred on the same day of the year. It is believed that the Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord, and the Wedding miracle at Cana all happened on the same day of the year. Not the same year, but the same day. For those who pray the liturgy of the hours, or have read the ancient fathers, you know that this is so.
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Why are these three events linked in this way? Well, let’s review them briefly. At the Epiphany, the Lord is presented to the world, and the wise men bring their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. At the Baptism of the Lord, Christ is baptized at the Jordan river by John. And at Cana, where Jesus turns water into wine, there is a wedding.
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Well, there is a theme running through these three feasts. First we think back to a Jewish wedding in those days. In those days, at the time of the engagement, gifts are exchanged. A dowry. Notice that at the Epiphany, the 3 wise men, representing humanity – the Church – bring gifts to Jesus. A dowry is presented to the Divine Bridegroom.
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We might also recall, that before an ancient Jewish wedding, there is a washing in water, the Mikvah, the sacred ceremonial bath – and so we have the baptism of the Lord. In fact Christian baptism is a fulfillment of that ancient Mikvah.
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Noticing these nuptial, marriage themes, we see that Jesus first miracle will be at a wedding. At the wedding at Cana, we find Jesus and the Church – that is, Mary and the disciples represent the Church.
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In light of this, we recall that the long tradition of the prophets framed the relationship between God and his people as a nuptial relationship. God’s people were described as his Bride, he would come for them, and the coming of Christ into the world at that first Christmas really was God coming for his Bride, the Church. This reality is therefore hidden in the mysteries of Epiphany, The Baptism, and the Wedding at Cana.
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At the time of Our Lord, the Best Man was an important figure in a marriage. The Best Man was the one who got the two together, sort of a matchmaker, who prepared the way. Today, John the Baptist is called the Best Man. He says: ‘You can testify that I said that I am not the Christ, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete.
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As we conclude the Christmas season tomorrow, we continue to rejoice, because the Bridegroom has come.

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