XXVII SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
genesis 2:18-24; hebrews 2:9-11; mark 10:2-16
the elderly couple in the check-out line at the mall were talking about their upcoming golden wedding anniversary. the young cashier piped in: «i can’t imagine being married to same man for 50 years!» the wife replied: «well, honey, don’t get married until you can.»
this little exchange succinctly conveys what marriage is… two persons—not only imagining—but also and especially deciding and pledging to stay in a relationship forever. marriage is a commitment and covenant (and so is religious life and the priesthood!).
this is the core of today’s first reading and gospel.
in response to the pharisees question about the legality of divorce, JESUS argues that moses’ permission for husbands to divorce (cf. deuteronomy 24:1-4) was «because of the hardness of your hearts.» he, then, turns to the biblical ideal of marriage… as GOD intended it «from the beginning of creation».
in GOD’s original plan (cf. first reading), marriage is not about male superiority but about communion of love between complementary partners. this love—because it is a reflection of GOD’s love—is a commitment with a beginning and no end.
there will be problems in marriage (and in religious life/priesthood). pope francis alluded to these: «families have difficulties. families will quarrel. sometimes plates can fly. and children bring headaches. i don’t want to speak about mothers-in-law… but difficulties are overcome by love.»
there are four p’s to overcome the mega «p»:
be positive: appreciate and affirm the other;
be polite: show respect and courtesy for the other, being careful about what-how-where we say things;
be playful: make fun and humour a mainstay in relationships;
be prayerful: spend time praying together.
adoniram judson, the famous missionary wrote: «the motto of every missionary… ought to be ‘devoted for life’.» married couples are missionaries of love!
ps: on a lighter note: henry ford had some sage advice when asked on his fiftieth wedding anniversary for his rule for marital bliss and longevity: «just the same as in the automobile business, stick to one model.»