I am fully aware of my own need for healing – something I cannot give myself – but only comes from God through Jesus Christ.
Jesus numerous times refers to himself as the bridegroom. In Mark’s Gospel (2:18-22) he makes reference to this loving presence of God in the midst of the people just before he speaks of mending an old cloak and pouring fresh wine into new wineskins.
Jesus in the Incarnation is God’s extraordinary response to our human need for healing. He humbly enters the world to heal the wound of humanity – to restore the image of God in which we are created – as the perfect marriage of human and the divine in his person.
Just as an old cloak cannot be repaired with a piece of unshrunken cloth because the fullness of the new will pull away from the old, Jesus enters our human condition – entered into human history – he comes with a newness – as a groom takes a bride to himself – that will not pull away from our wounds. He comes in human flesh with the power and strength of God, because he is God. In his person, humanity and divinity are one. He is the very Love of God – in the flesh.
Just as new wine cannot be poured into old wineskins without bursting the old skin and losing the new wine, he comes as the wine of the new and eternal covenant – a new covenant prepared for us in his body. He first called disciples to himself renewing them in personal relationships of friendship, preaching God’s Word – indeed living the power of God’s Word in their midst. All the while, in their hearing and seeing, poured himself out in acts of love, healing and preaching, encountering one person after another to offer God’s mercy, understanding and healing love.
In his presence, through his earthly ministry, he prepares his disciples and those who receive him to ‘reawaken’ in them, in us, our truest humanity – “created in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27) so the ‘old cloak’ of our humanity could become once again a ‘new wineskin’ capable of receiving the new wine of the new and everlasting covenant which is his gift.
Jesus allowed his body to be crushed – his blood to be shed – consumed totally as a perfect offering and sacrifice. Jesus is in his person the Bridegroom who joins us to himself so that we can be healed and enjoy the new and eternal life of God. He is the Light penetrating our darkness, the Physician healing our wounds, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, the New Wine of the New and Eternal Covenant with God.
Jesus is the Bridegroom who comes with the Love of God to join us to himself, to heal and renew humanity for love.2