Gn 2:18-24; Heb 2: 9-11; Mk 10: 2-16
Sometimes women are overly suspicious of their husbands…. When Adam stayed out very late for a few nights, Eve became upset. “You’re running around with other women,” she told her mate. “Eve, honey, you’re being unreasonable,” Adam responded. “You know you’re the only woman on earth.” The quarrel continued until Adam fell asleep, only to be awakened by a strange pain in the chest. It was his darling Eve poking him rather vigorously about the torso. “What do you think you’re doing?” Adam demanded. “Counting your ribs,” said Eve.
Dear friends! “Among the many blessings that God has showered upon us in Christ is the blessing of marriage, a gift bestowed by the Creator from the creation of the human race…It is a source of blessing to the couple, to their families, and to society and includes the wondrous gift of co-creating human life. Indeed, as Pope John Paul II never tired of reminding us, the future of humanity depends on marriage and the family.”
What a powerful message we were all privileged to hear from Pope Francis a week before at the world festival of Families in Philadelphia! He said, “Love is celebration. Love is joy. Love is moving forward,” Calling families “a factory of hope.”
He continued, “Being with you makes me think of one of the most beautiful mysteries of our Christian faith. God did not want to come into the world other than through a family. God did not want to draw near to humanity other than through a home. God did not want any other name for himself than Emmanuel (cf. Mt 1:23). He is “God with us”. This was his desire from the beginning, his purpose, his constant effort: to say to us: “I am God with you, I am God for you”. He is the God who from the very beginning of creation said: “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). We can add: it is not good for woman to be alone, it is not good for children, the elderly or the young to be alone. It is not good. That is why a man leaves his father and mother, and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24). The two are meant to be a home, a family”.
“Father, you speak like that because you’re not married,” a skeptic might say, Pope Francis said. “Families have difficulties. In families we quarrel. Sometimes, plates can fly. Children cause headaches. I won’t speak of mother-in-laws.” But,” the Pope added, “In families, there is always light.” He offered advice to families who fight from time to time: “Never let the day end without making peace.”
These days, parents pray the youngest child will get married and move out before the oldest one gets divorced and moves back in. It’s sad. Jesus says, “Let no one separate what God has joined.” We believe that God has joined a man and a woman in marriage. Therefore, the man and the woman are not alone. The God who has joined them is with them to give them the strength to let their love continue.
A wedding is different than a marriage. A wedding is an intense celebration that takes months to plan. A marriage is a commitment of faithfulness that takes years to fulfill. A wedding is about the music, the dress, the gifts, the parties. A marriage is about compromise, forgiveness, listening, and remembering your anniversary. A wedding is a challenge but one that most people can pull off. A marriage is the difficult work of a lifetime.
Now, of course, not all marriages do continue. When they fail, none of us should make any judgments. It is only the people within the marriage who understand what is possible and what is not. But when marriages do continue, when the vows are lived out over a lifetime, that relationship becomes a witness to everyone else.
Now there clearly are no husbands and wives who are perfect witnesses. You might be able to pull off a perfect wedding. But pulling off a perfect marriage is next to impossible. There are always flaws and mistakes, ways in which the couple needs to adjust and start over again. But this is what is to be expected. This is why marriage can be such a strong witness to the world. This is why God has promised to be with husbands and wives all the days of their lives.