Sunday, October 3
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 10: 2-12
The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”
When I looked at the readings for this week, I tried to envision who would be listening to this gospel passage. In any congregation you have single and unmarried, engaged, married for a short time or for a long time. There will be people who are feeling the loss of their spouse; divorced and remarried with an annulment or divorced and remarried without going through the annulment process. There will be those who are married to a person of the same gender. Those whose marriage is on solid footing and those whose marriage is faltering. So, I wondered what could I say to help people navigate the waters of marriage or to reflect on what their marriage means? I decided the best way was to ask people who have lived through married life: through good times and difficult times, through births and deaths and for some divorce. Growing together in married life is hard work as well as an act of unconditional and mutual love. I invited several of my friends and they responded with such generosity and honesty that I want to share their words with you. I was inspired by their reflections; I pray that you will be too. You might want to spread them over the week and give yourself time to reflect, pray and talk with your spouse about your marriage. If you are not married pray for all married couples that you know. – Sister Teresa Tuite, OP
FIFTY-FOUR YEARS OF MARRIED LIFE
…through Kathy’s eyes
To me, our marriage is my ministry, my spiritual calling. After I got my degree and I began teaching, I soon realized a career wasn’t enough. I prayed that, if it’s God’s will, I would find a soul mate. Bingo, God sent me Vince. After the whirlwind of dating and wedding plans, we settled into a scary life of a married couple. Neither of us had a job nor much furniture, but we said that together, we were complete and would be ok. We have been gifted with 4 healthy children and 11 grandchildren. Through those young children’s years, we’ve leaned on each other’s wisdom and strength. Amazingly, our children grew into parents themselves. Our relationship has changed over the years as our lives have evolved from a married couple to grandparents.
Our relationship has grown to a greater understanding and value of each other. We have been blessed with our marriage. We haven’t had huge tragic events: the death of a child, natural disasters, unfaithfulness, or substance abuse. We value each other’s conclusions even if we don’t agree, and we respect and care for each other. After 54 yrs. we’re still learning from each other, still growing together, still respectful of each other’s needs and desires. Lately, we have had health concerns and the fear of losing each other is terrifying and makes each day a gift. –Kathy
…through Vince’s eyes Kathy and I have been married for 54 years and have four children and eleven grandchildren. I consider our marriage a huge blessing in my life. There are many aspects of our marriage that have contributed to our love and respect for each other but, one thing in particular stands out, and that is communication. I recall early in our marriage, when our family was young, we often took walks together after I got home from work and the kids were settled. On one occasion, our daughter Susan suddenly said something like “oh my, you two actually talk to each other on your walks after dinner.” Obviously I referred to something I could not have known any other way and Susan put two and two together. It reminds me of how important talking is in our marriage. Talking helps to make sure little pebbles do not turn into boulders.
Kathy and I are both introverts although I consider myself the extreme ‘mute’, at least this was the case more so in our early years together. In my case, I would listen to Kathy or the kids, think about what was said, come to a conclusion in my head, and that was that. Few knew what I was thinking because I kept my thoughts mostly private and unspoken. I was an introvert who didn’t know at the time that I was so introverted. I mention all of this to call attention to the importance talking has been in our marriage. I mean talking that really communicates how you feel, what you think, and gives your spouse a constant reminder that he/she is worth sharing your ideas with. I find myself getting better as the years pass by.
I often refer to what I call the ‘black box on the table’. Imagine there is a black box on the table, and no one knows what is inside. You could assume and be right or, in many cases, make the wrong assumption. This is very much like unspoken conclusions. If I don’t say them out loud I leave too much to chance. –Vince
ANCHORED IN OUR FAITH
We will be married 36 years 10/26/21. Both of our parents taught us to live by the Golden Rule – treat people the way you want to be treated. Our values and Catholic faith gave each of us a strong foundation to build upon in our marriage. Our marriage has been a journey of friendship, love, faith, adventures, and joy of raising our Craig and our Emily. Also, along the way were challenges, hard work, sadness, and a broken heart when we loss Craig so tragically 10/23/19. Our Catholic Faith and daily prayers have been the glue that has held our marriage together. We have both struggled with the loss of Craig – our Faith and strong family and friend connections has helped to carry us through our difficult days. We have both grieved in different ways and continue to support each other so we can be the best version of ourselves. The pain of Craig’s death is always with us, but we are learning to live with it one day at a time. Staying close to Emily and Bates and becoming grandparents to Weber 1/1/21 has been pure joy and gives us hope for the future! –Nancy and Mark
LOVE AND RESPECT IN THE SAMENESS AND DIFFERENCES OF EACH OTHER
In today’s readings the Pharisees are quizzing Jesus about marriage and divorce. In the Catholic tradition marriage holds a special place as one of the seven Sacraments. A Sacrament is defined as an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. Marriage, therefore, is a gift of God given as a way for two people to be living examples of his love. As anyone who has been married for a long time can tell you marriage doesn’t always feel “full of grace”. Any two humans sharing a life are bound to encounter differences of opinions, hurt feelings and perhaps even doubts. Marriage can be hard work! In today’s Gospel Jesus is telling us that marriage is worth the work. Our marriage is in many ways a fairy tale and the happiness we have shared passed down to our three well-adjusted children and now on to their own families. We always felt that our marriage and our role as parents were sacramental ones blest by God. We had fights and down moments like every couple but those were dwarfed by the tremendous happiness we enjoyed as partners in everything. I can honestly say that Susan is the love of my life, the mother of our three beloved children, and my very best friend. But one of the components of a healthy marriage is overcoming our natural selfishness, and also believing you have entered into a lifetime commitment. Too many couples expect a movie like enchantment 24/7, and at the first argument give up trying to find the middle ground, the greater good.
The Bible and our Church leaders offer us some advice on marriage. In 1st Corinthians, St. Paul wrote “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous … it does not seek its own interests.” And ultimately, “Love never fails.” In Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians he writes, “each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.” Pope Francis tells us that marriage is a lifelong commitment to be worked at day by day. “Don’t give up!” When married couples love and respect one another in their sameness and their differences and pray together, they are rewarded not with worldly goods but with the everlasting grace of God. – Peter and Susan
DIVORCED AND REMARRIED
I am a divorced and a remarried Catholic. Dave and I married right out of high school. In the late fifties that was the common thing to do. We had a baby ten months later. Neither one of us was ready to be married and certainly not ready to be parents. It was a mistake from the very beginning. We both were so young and caught up with the “idea of marriage” but not the reality. We tried everything to “make it work.” We were miserable and we were passing that on to our little girl. We were both raised Catholic so getting a divorce seemed so sinful. We had been taught that it was a mortal sin. We did go see a priest, but his advice was to stay married because divorce is wrong and the annulment process long and tedious. That advice was not going to work for either of us. Staying married and living the way we were seemed to be a more deadly sin. We did divorce. Some of our family “disowned us.” Dave left the Church. I was able to get a job transfer and finally moved out of state to begin again. Dave and I never saw each other again. When I look back, it seems strange that I never stopped going to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day. I was an active parishioner, even taught CCD but never received Holy Communion for nearly 35 years. Looking back, I wish Dave and I had gone to another priest for a second opinion, but we did not. Dave and I both remarried. I was married to my second husband for over 50 years. He died just short of our 56th anniversary. Dave was married to his second wife for over 25 years until he died from cancer. We believed in marriage and the sacredness of marriage just not to each other. Because of a near-death situation I was able to obtain an emergency annulment from the Church and our marriage was “blessed.” I didn’t like that idea but that was the process we had to go through. John and I felt that our marriage was already holy and that we had been greatly blessed throughout our marriage. –Dora
MARRIAGE WHEN MY SPOUSE DIES
One of the most profound remnants of my husband’s death is the deep love that remains. In the first few months after his death, I kept asking myself ‘what do I do with this love?’, ‘where do I put it?’ The cancer diagnosis and treatment had provided us the time to discuss our life together. When those last moments of his life on earth were evident, there was no pleading with God for a different outcome. There was the reality that the covenant we shared for 33 years was coming true for one of us – being led towards Eternal Life, and into the arms of the Lord. The blessings of the Sacrament of Marriage filled me with the grace to endure the goodbye, to give thanks, to assure him of the bliss he was about to experience and that I and our adult children would be ok. So, in those last moments there was prayer, there was thanksgiving and there was gratitude for a life well lived together in service to one another. The questions I asked myself in the first few months remain and through prayer and receiving the Eucharist I have learned the love never ends, and neither does the grace to endure the present day. –Jackie
Thank you to all my friends who responded so generously, when I asked them to share a slice of their married life with all of us. – Sister Teresa