March 6, 2021 - Pastor Message05/18/2021
THE YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE AND FAMILY “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him’ … So the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said, ‘This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one shall be called ‘woman’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body. The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:18, 21:25).
Continuing our journey together through the Year of St. Joseph, our theme for March is Christian marriage and family. This is because March 19th is the feast of Joseph, the Husband of Mary. As he does in so many ways, Joseph and, by extension, Mary image for us the perfect model of Christian marriage and family. They are united, not only by the natural union of marriage as intended by God from the very beginning, but by the supernatural union born through their service of their son, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. At the heart of every Christian marriage is Christ and the way the husband and wife come together to live as one and raise their children in his service.
Because the relationship between spouses is so personal, we can forget that there is a social dimension to that relationship and a responsibility to others, beginning with their children and radiating out to their extended family, their parish, and their community. A life lived for Christ is a life lived for others, and so every Christian marriage calls the spouses out of themselves and their relationship to shine the light of Christ, who has blessed their marriage and united them by the grace of a special sacrament, to lead all people around them to Christ, witnessing to his love for all by their love for each other. This is the vocation to the sacrament of marriage, or matrimony.
The social dimension of marriage, its foundation in God’s plan from the very beginning of creation, and its redemption and sanctification by Christ lead to the Church’s teachings on marriage and family, which have become controversial of late. So we will explore these teachings this month as well as the need to minister to those who find themselves in marriages or relationships that don’t reflect these teachings. A great place to start for everyone is to read Pope Francis’ post-synodal exhortation on marriage and the family, Amoris Laetitia, which can be found for free here . As Pope Francis stresses throughout, we always need to reach out to everyone with the healing love of Christ, but pastoral concern and care for those in relationships that fall short of the God-given ideal must not stop us as a Church from teaching the ideal. With Christ, the Good Shepherd, we are called as a Church to walk with Christ’s flock, especially the stray and the lost, on the difficult and demanding journey of faith, a faith that leads through the cross of Christ, “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), to the glory of the resurrection, which even now can be glimpsed through the grace Christ shares with the world through Christian marriages and families. May Joseph guide us along that journey together this month, and may his intercession lead to an outpouring of grace and mercy on all families.
Fr. Marc Stockton