Friday, Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The teaching of Jesus on marriage in today’s gospel reading can seem very challenging and uncompromising today, especially in the context of the high proportion of marriages that do not last. His vision of marriage can seem far removed from the reality of married life for many couples. Yet, perhaps it is precisely because so many marriages do not last today that the teaching of Jesus on marriage is all the more important. Jesus calls for a love between husband and wife that is faithful and enduring, a love that lasts in good times as well as bad, a love that is generous and ready to forgive. His vision of how a man and woman are to relate to each other in marriage is shaped by his insight into how God relates to all of us. God loves us with a faithful and enduring love. God’s love for us never changes; it lasts through good times and bad times in our lives; it is a love that is generous and ready to forgive. This is the quality of God’s love that is reflected in today’s first reading from the prophet Jeremiah. In that reading, the Lord accused his people of breaking the covenant he made with them. Yet, in spite of that infidelity, the Lord promises them, ‘I will remember the covenant that I made with you… I am going to renew my covenant with you… you will be reduced to silence when I have pardoned you for all that you have done’. Jesus calls on married couples to relate to one another in the way God relates to us. That call is addressed to all of us, whether we are married or single. We are to love one another in a way that reflects how God loves us. Maximilian Kolbe whose feast we celebrate today is a wonderful example of God’s love in human form. As a celibate man, he laid down his life in love for a married man, a father of a family. As Jesus says, ‘no one has greater love than this’.
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