I am very much aware that the modern society is very tolerant of divorce and remarriage, however, the first reading and the gospel of today invite us to reflect on the ideal of PERMANENCE IN MARRIAGE and on the value of lifelong commitment. Jesus' words on the indissolubility of marriage, especially set this ideal for all Christian couples. And we ask: Does this ideal of lifelong fidelity to one person seem impracticable for our times? Can a couple be expected to stay together for possibly 50 years and above?
The church sees marriage and family as willed by God in the very act of creation, as reflected in the first reading. The Catholic Church also maintains that marriage is a covenant between woman and man who enter into a partnership of their whole lives. It is a life-project, a vocation for which requires the grace of a special sacrament to make it viable and needs God's grace in order to be healed from the wounds of sin and restored to its beginnings, that is to the full understanding and realization of God's plan. The grace of God blesses and heals the love of the spouses anytime they dispose themselves to the reception of these Holy mysteries. Families who have stayed united over the years demonstrate that love can weather the storms which even the best of relationships
meet from time to time. Yes Love can achieve this because it is the most powerful force in the world. It calls for the greatest sacrifices, leads to the deepest commitments and forges an untreatable bond between people. According to St. John the Apostle, love is not only a powerful thing, but also a holy thing because it comes from God.
The sad truth is that not all marriages work out well. Some marry in haste, others marry wrong spouses and some may not have what it takes to live in a lifelong relationship. As followers of Christ, the real failure l see we have made is the failure to love. Sincere reflection on this will reveal how serious and scandalous it is both in marriage and in ordinary life; we still struggle and find it difficult to love others as we should, as Christ commands us to do. Reasons for this failure abound everywhere. This can stem from selfishness, insensitivity, insincerity, greed and infidelity, both to God and to a partner.
The devastating effects of failing to love, especially in marriage cycles has given birth to more troubling changes in our modern society among which are: the spread of divorce and of recourse to a new union, even on the part of the faithful; the acceptance of purely civil marriage in contradiction to the vocation of the baptized to "be married in the Lord"; the rejection of the moral norms that guide and promote the human and Christian exercise of sexuality in marriage. Signs also are not lacking of a disturbing degradation of some fundamental values: a mistaken theoretical and practical concept of the independence of the spouses in relation to each other; serious misconceptions regarding the relationship of authority between parents and children; the concrete difficulties that the family itself experiences in the transmission of values; the scourge of abortion; the ever more frequent recourse to sterilization and the appearance of a truly contraceptive mentality.
Many families are living this situation in fidelity to those values that constitute the foundation of the institution of family. Others have become uncertain and bewildered over their role or even doubtful and almost unaware of the ultimate meaning and truth of conjugal and family life.
Therefore, for a marriage union to succeed, it requires a constant effort of goodwill from the couple to cooperate with the grace of God. The couple should foster a relationship that is dynamic, never static; some say that if it is not moving forward, it is going backwards. Living in married love with another means dying to self in many little ways, because love is a kind of laying down a life for one’s friend. Our faith says that it is only by dying to self that we are capable of giving life to others, which carries within it Christ’s promise of eternal life.
I sincerely sympathize with many of our brothers and sisters who are going through difficult times in their marriages and pray that God will give them the strength to carry on. I pray especially for those who have been abandoned to raise their children alone. May God grant them the strength to move forward with their lives and may they find peace in taking care of their families. And for those who are getting ready to be united in this holy sacrament, may they find fulfillment in the love they profess.
We pray that through the efforts of the Church today in her teachings, God will help in restoring sanctity and dignity of the Christian family. May God also bless the Church with the wisdom to be open to new insights on how to care for marriage and on what steps the Church can and should take to be a more welcoming place for those whose marriages have proved unsustainable, but who wish to continue as faithful friends of Christ.
Fr. JuliusBACK TO LIST