……from your Pastor’s Desk
This Sunday the readings invite us to consider marriage and the relationship between a man and a woman in marriage. Just a few years back that would not be even considered remotely controversial. Today, such a topic has so many challenges because; let’s face it, modern culture has changed the perception of marriage, the perception of commitment, the perception of chastity and the perception of love.
For most of the centuries after Christ, the teaching of all who followed Him was the same: One woman and one man enter into a commitment with each other, to love one another, to honor one another and to live chastely with one another. Over time there have always been attempts to change this but the Scriptures have always been clear in this teaching.
Today, again, there is an enormous movement to understand the teachings of our Lord Jesus on many things – in new ways. Some who follow Christ accept such changes but, let us not kid ourselves – some such changes are based not on Sacred Scripture but on human teachings and the influence of the age.
In our day many say to accept every person just as that person is rather than challenging all of us to conversion (no matter how good we are – there is always room for improvement!). And, we are not talking about rejecting the person – but we don’t always have to accept their behavior. Remember – it works both ways – no one can tell you how to think or what to feel.
Some of us need to be challenged and some of us need conversion of spirit and heart. Today’s readings are a challenge to those who chose to enter into a Sacramental Union. Always in the Christian tradition there has been an understanding that sometimes marriages do not work but the ideal has remained in place. And, when over half of the marriages that are celebrated end in divorce, there is something radically wrong within the culture. Why is that not questioned more? I don’t know. Today’s readings invite us to question ourselves and our society and to look for ways to strengthen marriage once again and to strengthen the family.
I have never been married. And looks like I won’t ever be. However, I’ve been around enough to know the ideal is not often the real and some best made plans often do not come to fruition. But we have to have hope. And hope is what helps us set goals.
Regarding Catholic marriage specifically: The goal is a functioning, Sacramental marriage in which both wife and husband seek God through their relationship with one another and so bless any children born of their union because they are truly born into a relationship that is centered in God while at the same time rejoicing in the sexuality and love and goodness of our humanity. Does this always happen? No, as we said – the ideal is often not the real.
-But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try!
-It doesn’t mean those who are having difficulties in their marriages should just give up.
-It doesn’t mean that those contemplating marriage should be discouraged.
-And, it doesn’t mean it can’t work – even for those for whom it has not.
Let us pray today for those who are married, and those contemplating marriage, that they may grow in this awareness of the Sacramentality of marriage and its capacity to reflect the love of God into our world in such special ways.
This is our hope. May the way we show our love to others, especially in our intimate relationships always reflect our Love for God.
God bless you and the one you love most – no matter who, how or why.