October 7, 2018 —Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings give us a wonderful refresher on the Biblical origins of the Sacrament of Marriage, going all the way back to the second chapter of Genesis in our First Reading. Adam’s delighted reaction to Eve, his bride, is ancient praise of this beautiful sacrament. ”This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.” The passage goes on, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh.”
In our Gospel Reading, taken from St. Mark, we see the Pharisees questioning Jesus about the meaning and permanency of marriage. Jesus responds by going back to the origins we just recalled, reminding them, “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”
Today, perhaps more than at any other time in Christianity, marriage and family life are under attack. It is vital that we have a proper understanding of the Church’s beautiful and solid teachings in these areas, which as we see in today’s readings, go back to Genesis itself. We call this type of knowledge, “Formation” and it is one of the pillars of a stewardship way of life. A good formation in the faith not only strengthens us in our own walk with the Lord, it allows us to pass on this knowledge to others who are thirsting to know the truth about the human person, and arms us to defend our beliefs when necessary.
These readings also invite us to reflect on the reality that we are to be good stewards of the vocation that the Lord has entrusted to us. If I am married, do I recognize that my spouse and my marriage are a gift from God that must be nourished, developed and tended? This brings to mind the stewardship aspect of “Time.” After time spent with God, my next priority of time should be for my spouse. Do I realize that at the end of my life I will have to give an account to God for how I cared for the gift of my spouse and marriage? Do I make the time to pray regularly for and with my spouse? Do I understand that my marriage and family are meant to reflect the love of the Trinity itself? What a dignified calling this us! The gift of my marriage and family are meant not just for myspouse and my kids. My marriage and family are meant to be a blessing to all those I come into contact with.
This week, look around at all those married couples in the parish, particularly those married for many decades. These couples are a gift to the entire parish and should be commended for their faithfulness to each other and to their sacramental vows. They have much wisdom to offer. Reach out to them. Ask them to share their best piece of advice, whatever your particular vocation. Pick up the Catechism of the Catholic Churchand read what the Church has to say about marriage and family life. Our brothers and sisters need the strength of our formation and witness to be a light to them in a darkened world.