Holy Family

Holy Family

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Feast of Saint Arnold Janssen

Good morning.  Today’s Gospel is certainly full of hope. In the Gospel reading this morning from the book of Mark (Mk 2:13-17) we find Jesus sitting and dining with sinners. And when Jesus is challenged on this, he simply responds “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”  What a hopeful message that is, for all of us, because we are all sinners. What a hopeful message to know that Jesus came for each one of us; and that message of redemption offers us hope.

I watched a movie last night with my family that reminded me of the significance of hope, and the importance of hope in our lives was again reiterated upon reading the Gospel for today.  We watched the movie Shawshank Redemption, an affirming film of hope released in 1994. It stars Morgan Freeman and I generally enjoy most films he stars in. A line from the film sums it up with “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” 

This thing we call hope can certainly be an elusive thing and I often find that behind many of the issues married couples bring into my office is a sense that one or both of the partners have lost a sense of hope for the marriage.  One of the tricky things about hope is that it looks to the future but it is lived out in the present.  Couples often look to what is currently going on in their marriage and find themselves feeling hopeless about there being a future for them. They often get caught up in a mixture of despair and presumption. Regarding the idea of despair, I have generally found that very few marriages are beyond hope, and to presume that things can not change is just downright silly.  The challenge generally is that couples believe their problems are insurmountable and one or the other or both are convinced that things just cannot change. The truth be known, in most instances things are not as complicated and elusive as the couple seems to think. In most instances they are just over thinking or wanting to analyze the problem, or looking for why the problem exists or looking for blame. The truth of the matter is, none of that really matters and it certainly will not offer a solution.  As indicated, hope looks to the future, but lives in the present, the answer for couples who are struggling with hope for their future is to help them find those things that are hopeful in their present. Couples need to stop focusing on what isn’t working in the marriage and instead focus on those things that are working and to do more of those things. Make a great day!

Today we recall the good life and works of Saint Arnold Janssen, founder of the Divine Word Missionaries.

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