Oct 7, 2018
Boy meets Girl
In days long ago, when a woman went into labor, no one knew for sure if the baby, about to be born, was a boy or a girl. After the newborn emerged, you had to wait for the doctor, the nurse or midwife will enthusiastically declare, “It’s a boy! It’s a girl!”
Today, with the invention of ultrasound technology, an unborn baby's gender can be simply ascertained my an image on a screen. In short, using old-fashioned way or with modern science, you can tell simply by looking!
For each one of us here, as difficult as it is to imagine, our parents were once babies. Your mother was a little baby girl - your father, was once a little baby boy!
But the purpose of being a baby boy or baby girl is not to remain a baby. Within the safe environment and natural love of a family, we are mentored along the way, by fathers and mothers to arrive into adulthood. But the journey does not end there. the journey continues.
The First Reading tells us what happens next. That "a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh”. In other words, a boy becomes a man so that he can leave home and become a father. A girl becomes a woman so that she can leave home and become a mother.
But not so fast! Notice that the Sacred Scriptures tell us that when a man leaves his father and mother, we are told he is to cling, not simply to a woman, any woman but to “his wife”. If the woman you are clinging to, or the man you are clinging to is not your husband, it is offensive to the sacred language of marriage. God defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, of a husband to his wife in order, and here we go again, to take their own turn to be a mother and father – a family!
By his words and actions, Christ defines and clarifies the nature of this sacred and permanent relationship we call the sacrament of marriage.
Is there an indication that Christ was ever married? Yes! From the cross, Christ the Bridegroom gave his life completely and without holding back anything – he gave his life to his Bride – the Holy Church. He continues to do so through the Sacrifice of the Mass. This is why we call the Eucharist the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
Notice that Christ reminds us in today's Gospel, that in the language of God concerning marriage, there is no talk of divorce. It may be in the civil language and indeed at Calvary, the civil voices called out to him to come down from the cross, to save himself. But breaking promises is not the language of God. Christ will never divorce himself from his bride.
And even though we have often times been unfaithful, Christ the Bridegroom has and always is faithful. He will never take back the ring! In good times, in bad times, in sickness or in health, for richer, for poorer, he is always faithful, even until death, death on a cross.
It is for this reason that it is often a tragedy when the civil language of divorce threatens the sacred unity of a sacred marriage and the harmony of a family.
It goes without saying, that preparation for marriage is crucially important and can never be entered into casually or impulsively, or as a matter of convenience.
There were many times when Christ could have conveniently given his life for the sake of our salvation. He didn't do a practice run. Nor did he test out the cross for a while to see what it was going to be like. Instead, he chose his hour and his day, after much prayer, patience, preparation, and soul-searching so that he could do so freely. And to engaged couples who enter into the marriage covenant with Christ who rose from the dead, he assures them of supernatural help in good times and in bad times.
Never be afraid of the sacred language of marriage. Never play it safe to simply be comfortable partners, even to cruise control into being a husband and wife or parents. Holy Marriage never stifles but always points toward cooperating with God in his work of creation, to be motherly and fatherly together. That's why, in the same breath, as our Lord clarifies the marriage relationship (in the Gospel today), he then says, “Let the children come to me, do not prevent them”.
So, let us pray in particular for our children and our young people, that they will be inspired by the examples of heroic man and women who become husbands and wives. May they learn from our example how to be fatherly and motherly, not just for their own sake, but especially for the sake of future generations to come. May we all find a welcome and a place within the family home of Jesus in the company of Mary and Joseph.
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Catechism of the Catholic Church 369-373, 1601-1605, 1612-1617, 1638 ff)
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