February 12.  Sunday 6A.  World Marriage Day.  Fr Fidelis had invited couples to give their testimony on this day during the homily by sharing about their relationship.  He considered it valuable for their own sake, their children and as examples in the community.  Joe and Tracy who were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary shared, “Being apostles is not our own choice but it is God who chose us in our unworthiness and makes us worthy.  Over the years, through times of joy and suffering we experienced that calling from God, a call to unity and to deeper faith and love for one another and through that for God. “

 Fr continued, “Today’s gospel is a challenging one. Matthew uses the words, ‘It was said, but I say.’  The Law of Christ is not like man-made laws possibly arrived at through a referendum, by consensus or determined by the ruling party in power. The law of Christ goes deeper; it is a law given by love and lived out in tenderness, love and mercy. Jesus uses very strong words referring to faithfulness, adultery and divorce. Difficult pastoral challenges related to marriage were considered by the Synods on the Family in 2014-5 and discussed by Pope Francis in his response in Amoris Laetita.  He did not make changes in Church’s teaching but proposed a more merciful view, careful discernment with pastors and decisions to be made in conscience.  I recommend that you discuss these issues of divorced and remarried people being barred from Communion, cohabitation and same sex unions too with one another and especially with young people who will hopefully consider marriage in the future. Help one another to see that ideally marriage should be built on the power of love, not the love of power.”  Reflect, share, act and pray. 

Scripture: It was said, whoever divorces his wife let him give her a certificate of divorce. But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife except on the grounds of unchastity makes her an adulteress and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:17-37     Pope Francis: The Synod Fathers reached a consensus which I support. “In considering a pastoral approach towards people who have contracted a civil marriage, who are divorced and remarried, or simply living together the Church has the responsibility of helping them understand the divine working of grace in their lives and offering them assistance so they can reach the fulness of God’s plan for them.   AL297.  

A simple Marriage Prayer.  

We praise and thank you Father for the gift of love and the gift of our marriage.  Help us in good times to be thankful and in hard times to depend on your loving care for us and trust in your desire for our marriage to be a sign of love and of Jesus present in our lives and in the world around us.  Amen.