Scripture today focuses on marriage faithfuless. Our reading from Genesis says we must leave our parents and be joined to our spouses, and what God joins nothing should sunder. In the Gospel, Christ, rejecting divorce, echoes Genesis, what God unites man mustn’t divide. Lets confess if we fail in marriage faithfulness.
Marriages are made in heaven. Christ says spouses should leave their parents, become one, and witness to lifelong faithful love. The Vows taken, nurture of children, true love, and Christ’s command means we shouldn’t accept less. Marriage mustn’t be like the countryman’s ad: “wife needed, donkey dead”. Rather than I’ll love you as long as it suits me, it should be a love bond even death won’t destroy. That fine film, “Sleepless In Seattle”, makes the point well. The heroine is engaged to a man she likes but doesn’t love. Realising this, he hands her back the ring saying marriage is too serious to be entered into lightly. The film ends with a Louise Armstrong song, “make some one happy and you will be happy too”. Thats the challenge for couples, to make and keep each other happy, heeding Christ’s words, “love one another as I have loved you”. He loved to the last drop of his blood. Life-long marriage commitment should be as heroic.
Indeed, its because each marriage is so sacred that Christ began his ministery at one. He turned the water into wine so that the wedding could go on and on. For he wanted his married relations to be happy. That’s his wish for all couples, to be happy and united always. For a true marriage mirrors his enduring love for his bride the church and always begets new life. Each child born of real enduring love, thats God’s plan. Its the why of sex also, two people’s love generating the miracle of new life. A world of happy fathers, mothers and children, that’s the Christian dream.
But we live in a fallen world and the strains on marriages made in heaven are immense today, with devaluation of the marriage ideal by easy divorce a wholly sexual versions of love. All the more reason why Christian couples should work with all their might to stay close despite all the world throws at them. Which remind me of another joke: the first year of marriage the husband speaks and the wife listens; the second year the wife speaks and the husband listens; the third year they both shout and the neighbours listen. The joke has a message. Communication is key: talking to, not at, each other, sharing problems, remembering birthdays and anniversaries, making up quarrels with flowers etc Above all being sensitive to the other’s feelings. Feelings are easily hurt and people need to know they’re loved no matter what.
For marriage is seldom rosy all the time. At times the wine runs low. But such tests should strengthen the union so that it produces the good wine at last. For the long haul the church dimension is vital. The sacrament gives us extra grace to live what’s foolishness to a cynical world. If couples keep God as part of their lives, honor their vows and pray when things get tough they’re more likely to survive. They’ve his grace to be faithful, to share, take the good with the bad, bring children up in the security of a good home, and keep alive the fire of love celebrated at their wedding, until the lord receives them, still one, into the eternal home. For he wants us to be happy and united here and afterwards with him and each other forever. For cynical worldly values fade to ashes at last, but Christ is lord of enduring love for our happiness in this world and forever and ever. As God’s own, committed to marriage as a permanent union ordained by God and affirmed by Christ, lets profess our faith.
Prayers of the faithful
And as his faithful people lets for what we need.
For the leaders of the church, especially our Holy Father, that they may continue to put before the cynical world the sacred ideal of faithful marriage, and forgiveness for those who fail.
For civil leaders that they may act with integrity in governing us, and uphold marriage and family life for the good of society.
For our young people that in their love relationships may chose the Christian ideal of a permanent sacred union, and invoke the extra help of the sacrament, the extra grace of God it confers.
For our own marriages and families that God may bless us with continuing love, union and graceful living among happy children.
For the aged, the lonely and the sick in body, mind or soul that through our care and prayers they may experience God’s love..
For those of our families who have died, especially spouses, that through our continuing love and prayers we may stay united until we’re joined forever in the home of the faithful prepared for us.
We ask these prayers through Christ, Lord of faithful love unto death for this world and forever and ever, amen.
Surveys show Ireland has the lowest records of marriage in Europe now. With this goes ever increasing family break-down. So recommitment to Christian marriage was never more urgent. For our youth, future and society’s health we must revive this ideal. So, while, of course, having compassion for those separated due to irretrievedly broken or abusive relationships, lets still affirm the ideal of life-long Christian marriage. While recognising that we’re all sinners and dare not judge anyone, we pray to Mary for a fresh commitment to Christian marriage so as to help to redeem the times by loving faithfulness in Christ’s spirit..Hail Mary