The Christmas season closed with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord last Sunday, and now the Church resumes “Ordinary Time”. It is perhaps a rather unpoetic way to refer to this part of the liturgical year which is supposed to represent a time of growth (hence the use of green vestments). Through most of this year, the Sunday Gospel will be taken from the Gospel of Luke. Today’s Gospel is one of the exceptions. Today we read the beautiful account from John’s Gospel about the wedding in Cana. It is significant that it was at a wedding that the Lord performed the first of His miracles, or “signs”, as Saint John refers to them. This presents an occasion for us to reflect upon the Sacrament of Marriage. I frequently remind engaged couples that they need to make a conscious choice: to choose a secular, civil marriage, or to choose to enter into a sacramental marriage. There is a profound difference. The culture’s idea or standard of what a marriage is continually changes. By the culture’s standards a marriage need not be “until death do us part.” It need not include openness to children; in fact it often excludes children. The culture is even denying that marriage is an exclusive union between a man and a woman! On the other hand, a sacramental marriage – between a baptized man and a baptized woman, witnessed in the Church – is a union in which the man pledges himself to the woman and the woman to the man. They pledge themselves to an unbreakable bond of fidelity. They bind themselves to each other as God bound Himself to His people Israel, and as Christ has bound Himself to His Church. In a sacramental marriage the couple sees children as a blessing and gift from God, and never as an intrusion or burden. In fact these two realities – the loving union between a man and woman, and the blessing of children – are the purposes for which God established marriage. What a beautiful teaching this is!! And, as in every other endeavor of the Christian life, we need the Grace of God to strengthen us to live it out faithfully. Please pray for our married couples and for those preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage, that God will give them the graces necessary for their state in life.
My thanks to Fr. Levi Schmitt for filling in for me this weekend while I am in Peoria, IL, for the baptism of my grand-nephew!
May God bless you!