I love today’s first reading:
Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her; Exult, exult with her, all you who were mourning over her! Oh, that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort, That you may nurse with delight at her abundant breasts! For thus says the LORD: Lo, I will spread prosperity over her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent. As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort. When you see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bodies flourish like the grass; The LORD’S power shall be known to his servants, but to his enemies, his wrath.
The image of Jerusalem here speaks to me especially now that I am a nursing mother.
In the New Testament, the Church is the New Jerusalem, and so Catholics read this passage as referring to the relationship that we have with Mother Church. This is how much God loves us. Just as a mother’s milk is the perfect food for her baby, providing for all his physical needs, and satisfying also his emotional need for physical affection, for skin-to-skin contact; even so the Eucharist is the perfect spiritual food for us, satisfying all of our spiritual needs. God knows that we are physical creatures and so he comes to us in the flesh, as real food. But the baby will need to return again and again to his mother’s breast. God gives us the bread of life that will satisfy us completely.
God is the perfect, the loving father and so he gives us the perfect mother, to comfort us, to nourish and nurture us. And we likewise should rejoice in his bounty.
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