This week from the 7th to 14th of February, our country is observing the National Marriage Week (14th February is Valentine’s Day). This tradition became part of our Christian life when the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference (USCCB) in 2010 launched it to strengthen marriage in communities and influencing modern culture.
This year’s Marriage Week is focused on the theme: “Called to the Joy of Love” referring to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Amoris Laetitia. As married couples are called to live out the call of love, this theme is timely and needed for modern challenges.
Pope Francis in the Encyclical writes the fundamental approach of marriage: “Pope Benedict XVI, in his Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, returned to the topic of the truth of the love of man and woman, which is fully illuminated only in the love of the crucified Christ (cf. No. 2). He stressed that ‘marriage based on an exclusive and definitive love becomes an icon of the relationship between God and his people, and vice versa. God’s way of loving becomes the measure of human love’ (11). Moreover, in the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, he highlighted the importance of love as a principle of life in society (cf. 44), a place where we learn the experience of the common good”. (No 70)
The readings focus on love also. When kings conquer lands, they bring people under their control. Unlike kings God has nothing to gain from us, even if we obey the law or not. It is for our advantage, Jesus brought us back to God, Jesus brought us back the happiness that we lost by our disobedience. Mathew introduces Jesus’ public ministry with the revolutionary outpouring of the beatitudes. Jesus indeed fulfilled the old law by becoming the new Moses with the clean message - following the law must lead us to holiness.
God wants us not just to be ‘good’, rather God wants us to be holy. Does my Christian living, lead me to holiness? Does my following the church teachings, laws and practices make me a better person for my community? Observing God’s precepts without love does not make sense and does not lead us to salvation. Jesus says, ‘if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the Pharisees You will never get into the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:20). We live and proclaim the gospel through the way we love God and other.
I thank all the married couples of our parish. “The Joy of love experienced by families is also the joy of the church”. (Pope Francis). Your marital love is your service to the church. Happy Marriage Week!
Fr. AntonyBACK TO LIST