FRIDAY, NINETEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Jos 24:1-13; Ps 136:1-3,16-18,21-22,24; Mt 19:3-12
MARRIAGE IS PRIMARILY A MISSION
Baptism, Communion and Confirmation initiate us into a deeper living of the life in the Spirit. The sacraments of Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick provide strength and healing. The sacraments of Matrimony and Holy Orders confirm our unique vocation and purpose in the plan of God for our lives and the world. And therefore, though a man and a woman enter into marriage for their own well-being and happiness, on the day they profess their vows to each other before God and the Christian community, they also profess their commitment to a mission – a mission to keep the light of Christ shining in the relationship, in the home, in the world.
This ‘mission’ aspect of matrimony is often forgotten. Hence, a spouse in a struggling marriage always tends to ask the question, ‘What does he/she do for me?’ But what about the question, ‘What is my mission in the marriage?’ In fact, in the light of Christian discipleship, the latter question is the more important one; for, discipleship entails being willing to sacrifice our earthly ‘well-being and happiness’, being willing to ‘deny oneself, take up the cross and follow him.’
Today, God’s will in marriage is facing powerful attacks – against its very definition as being between man and woman, against its relevance, and against the way it is lived. And it is this selfish perspective of considering it primarily for one’s own ‘wellbeing and happiness’ that fuels these attacks. Jesus, though, is influenced by this distortion of perspective; he tells it for what it is – marriage is primarily for the glory of God in the fulfilment of his will; i.e., a vocation, a mission. Even the disciples struggled to accept this two thousand years ago, which is a subtle indication that these attacks on marriage, these struggles in marriage, are nothing ‘modern’; they are as old as the selfishness of man. But the divine will is eternal and unchanging.
Response: For his mercy endures forever.
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