Here is part of our Old Testament reading, from Jeremiah: ‘The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord, I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown’.

The close relationship of Israel with God in the Old Testament is carried over in the New Testament to the ‘New Israel’, the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI said: ‘In the Second Letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul had compared the Christian community to a bride, writing thus: “I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband”. The Letter to the Ephesians develops this image, explaining that the Church is not only a betrothed bride, but the real bride of Christ. He has won her, so to speak, and has done so at the cost of his life: as the text says, he “gave himself up for her”. What demonstration of love could be greater than this?’

As we give thanks for the wonder and joy of this unique relationship, let us pray also for the grace to be faithful to Christ, who has won us at the cost of His own life. May God bless you this day.