February 11. Sunday 6B. Fr Obed noted, “This Sunday has a number of things to commemorate. The feast of Our Lady of Lourdes fits in with the readings that speak about curing of leprosy.  What could this possibly have to do with World Marriage Day, which is celebrated on this 2nd Sunday of February.   While of course we are celebrating with our married couples, I always stress that Marriage is a Sacrament of the Church and so they are “our” couples.  These days many marriages are under stress.  The marriage rate is down, divorce and cohabitation are happening everywhere. The last few years have been particularly stressful for couples from a health perspective.  Covid affected many, through illness and death. Gender based violence has reached pandemic proportions. While the HIV/AIDS pandemic has largely subsided there are other situations where individuals and couples are stigmatised, such as LGBTQ!+  which is not a disease.  There are situations of war that separate families too.   This year on WORLD MARRIAGE DAY I propose that while thanking God for the gift of marriage, let us all pray for couples and for an increase and understanding of the value, the meaning and the power of the sacrament in the Church and the world.     

“It is not good that man should be alone— Healing the Sick by Healing Relationships,” is the theme of Pope Francis’ message for the 2024 commemoration of the World Day of the Sick, also held on 11 February.

Reflect, share, Scripture:  The leper who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let his hair  hang loose and he shall cover his upper lip and cry, “Unclean, unclean”  he shall dwell alone outside the camp.   Lev 13:44-46  Pope Francis: God has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity and has called them to live together as brothers and sisters. FT 5.   We cannot encourage a path of fidelity and mutual sefl-giving without encouraging the growth, strengthening and deepening of conjugal and family love. AL 89 By virtue of the sacrament of matrimony, every family becomes, in effect, a good for the Church. The safeguarding of the Lord’s gift in the sacrament of matrimony is a concern not only of individual families, but of the entire Christian community. AL 87.   Pray: Celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony for the whole Church community with a special renewal of vows or blessing for married couples and in the light of the recent permission a general blessing …………………………. Choose appropriate action.