June 3, 2021 – Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/060321.cfm)
Having married to his childhood sweetheart only a year & a half, in fear & anxiety, a man told his father: “Dad, Marriage is not for me.” After few minutes of silence, the father gave this advice: “Son, I make this really simple. You marry not to make yourself happy, but to make someone else happy. Marriage is not for you because you are married for a family & your future child. Marriage is not about you, but about the person you married.”
Easy for us to think that ordained priests and consecrated religious people are married to God & church. Rightly so, for they dedicate their lives to & for God & the church. It does not mean however that lay Christian couples & family are not married to & for the church. Christian marriage & family life is a discipleship – a way of following Jesus & loving in marriage to God through His people.
The arranged marriage of Tobiah & Sarah in our first reading may have highlighted the human, social, sexual & cultural dimensions of marriage, but above all it gives importance to the spirituality & sacredness of marriage. What is given value here is that marriage is not about & for oneself but for your beloved whom you love in life, and above all for God.
Christian couples do have their marriage in the church because they consider their love & marriage to each other as sacred & holy, and they wish to make their life now & always as their sacred offering to God & His church. Their marriage then is not about themselves but about each other living their love-life for God & His Church through their own family & Christian community. Same way with ordained priest & consecrated religious people, Christian married couples are also thus married to the Church.
Jesus in our gospel today reminds us that it is not enough just to know the commandment to love, but most of all we must live & practice Love. And love is basically not for and about oneself (not for and about you), but Love is all about & for one’s beloved & others. Marriage then is ultimately not for Me and about Me, but for and about An-other than Me. Love lived in Christian discipleship then is not self-centered, self-serving & self-oriented but moreso other-centered, other-serving & other-oriented. If & when we love this way, as Jesus says: “We are not far from God’s kingdom.”
In this mass, we pray that our love for our beloved & others now in life be our way of following our risen Lord, and be our marriage to God & His Church as our fitting sacrifice & worship to God’s goodness for us.
So be it. Amen.