21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 23, 2015 – Year B
Readings: Jos 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b / Psalm 34 / Eph 5:2a, 25-32 / Jn 6:60-69
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Yesterday, the Holy Name of Mary Men’s Breakfast Group had a very enlightening spiritual discussion on the sacrament of marriage. They based their reflections on today’s second reading, which is taken from the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, part of which says, “Husbands should love their wives, as their own bodies.” This biblical passage implies that wives should also love their husbands in the same way, even as Christ loves His Church.
The basis of my homily today will be the reflections and sharing of our Holy Name of Mary Men’s Breakfast Group. Since all of them are claiming to be really happy in their married life — at least that’s what they told me — I assume that what they are saying should be considered. Deacon Eddie reminded us that marriage is one of the two sacraments where God’s grace flows continuously. It is like a spring of living water that gives spiritual nourishment, flowing 24/7, seven days a week, all months of the year. All that married couples have to do is be faithful to each other, in good times and in bad, in poverty and plenty, in sickness and in health, until they become radioactive! With God on their side, they will be able to live in peace and harmony.
The men’s group pointed out reasons why some marriages fail; but I am not going to share all those failures. I am going to talk about the successes. The men’s group, all combined, have a total of more than 300 years of married life. Whatever they are doing is working! Here are a few of the pointers that they shared.
Be a good listener to everything that your spouse has to say and always offer a non-judgmental presence. This will go a long way in strengthening the husband/wife relationship. If you have the opportunity to take a break, for instance, attend a Marriage Encounter, and make it a point to renew your wedding vows on a regular basis. One of the couples in the group just went to Jamaica to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.
Doing house chores together also strengthens the marriage bond, even doing things as simple as washing dishes together. Deacon Eddie and Jeanne have created a ritual of drinking a glass of wine on their porch so that they can have quality time together at the end of the working day. Many of you here may also have your own favorite practice that enhances your married life. Whatever it is, please continue to do it.
One thing that stands out, that really helps the most, is the practice of praying together and attending Mass and other church activities as a family. At the end of the day, it is only with God’s help that couples can make their marriage and family relationship work. The outside world may try to convince you to use another approach, but past experiences will tell us that they are insufficient or a total failure. It is living like the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph of Nazareth, that marriages will last a lifetime. What we heard in today’s gospel, “If we will remain with Jesus, He will be with us always.” Let us allow Joshua to ask the question during this Mass, “If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today, who will you serve?” Let us ask our Lord Jesus to help us with our answer, so that each of us can say, “Lord, there are days that I find it difficult believing your words and the teachings of your church, but to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life.”