Holy Family

Holy Family

Friday, May 6, 2011

Feast of Saint John before the Latin Gate

Good morning. “How great a boon of God this is, and how great a blessing of matrimony is clear from a consideration of man's dignity and of his sublime end.” These words of Pope Pius XI taken from his 1930 Encyclical Casti Connubii (On Christian Marriage) came to mind as I reflected upon the readings this morning in relationship with the Sacrament of Marriage. In the first reading from the Fifth Chapter of Acts we read how if it comes from God it cannot be destroyed. It is made clear in the writings of scripture going back to the beginning in the Book of Genesis, and again in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus reminds us, and Pope Pius noted eighty years ago in Casti Cannubii we must maintain the sanctity of marriage. This presents a very important and positive message for those of us who are married, that if it comes from God it cannot be destroyed. If it is a Sacramental Marriage and we maintain that sacramental connection with God it will not and it cannot be destroyed. Likewise, Gamaliel, the Pharisee in today’s first reading from Acts, warns one doesn’t want to find themselves “fighting against God." Yet, despite this there are many who choose to take on this battle with God, who turn their backs on God not just by way of divorce but through the use of contraception and through abortion—many from amongst the pews. Again, Pope Pius reminds us “that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood…” and He will not allow the goodness of His creation to be trampled upon. May God have mercy on us! There are many who daily stand in defense of these innocent ones.

Again, I found myself drawn to this wonderfully written letter by Pope Pius XI as I reflected upon the Gospel reading of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes from John’s Gospel. We see in this scriptural passage how God’s goodness is multiplied, an act which as husband and wife we are called to participate in with God. This act, this openness to and nuptial participation in co-creation with God is a primary good of the Sacrament of Marriage and without this openness to life it fails to be a sacrament. Pope Pius XI, in his wonderful exposition of the Sacrament of Marriage notes that “it is easily seen how great a gift of divine goodness and how remarkable a fruit of marriage are children born by the omnipotent power of God through the cooperation of those bound in wedlock.” As a church we need to return to celebrating the gift of marriage and publicly recognizing the goodness of this sacrament, not just of children, but recognizing that in so many other ways the goodness of God is multiplied within the Sacrament of Marriage. Reflecting back to the beginning, to the words contained in the Book of Genesis, God has good plans for our lives and we can be confident that His plans for us in will always be what is best for us—even if we don’t understand His intent for us. God’s plan for marriage is simple, in the words of Saint Augustine, “the goodness of marriage, from which it takes its glory’ are ‘offspring, chaste fidelity, and unbreakable bond" May we reflect His goodness in our relationship with our marital partner today, and with His Grace continue to multiply His Goodness. Make a great day!

Today we recognize God’s goodness and His ever present protection in our celebration of the Feast of Saint John before the Latin Gate.

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