Sunday Scriptures

Strength in Sacramental Marriage

by Father William R. Dulaney

Here’s an important question for engaged couples: As you’re planning your wedding, why not consider having a beautiful nuptial Mass or wedding ceremony in your parish church, making God a part of your special day and inviting Him to be a part of your life together?

As much a part of most weddings as the vows and rings, tuxedoes and gowns, and the newlyweds’ first dance, are the prenuptial jitters experienced by the bride and groom.

The soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. are worried about getting through the ceremony and want their reception to go smoothly. Ever present is the hope that their love for each other will stand the test of time and their dreams of a wonderful life together will be fulfilled.

As they struggle with their concerns, they pray to God for the grace, wisdom and patience to work things out when disagreements and difficulties discourage them or threaten their marriage.

Through marriage preparation programs, engaged couples are made aware of the demands and responsibilities of marriage. They are encouraged, in union with Christ, to do everything in their power to mature as individuals and as a couple, to grow in their love for each other, and keep their marriage alive.

The Church’s concern for the spiritual well-being, permanence and happiness of every conjugal union is reflected in the prayers and blessings that are part of the Rite of Marriage:

“May almighty God, with His Word of blessing, unite your hearts in the never-ending bond of pure love. May your children bring you happiness and may your generous love for them be returned to you many times over.

“May the Lord bless you with many happy years together. After you have served Him loyally in His kingdom on earth, may He welcome you into His eternal Kingdom in Heaven.”

That marriage is a significant commitment and an important part of God’s plan for a man and a woman is emphasized in the Scriptures for today’s liturgy.

Quoting Genesis in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus says, “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together no human being must separate,” in so speaking, Our Lord reminds us that marriage is of divine origin and affirms the marriage union of a man and woman is indissoluble, i.e. unable to be broken.

The divinely revealed biblical teaching on the indissolubility and permanence of marriage should not be viewed as an unattainable ideal, nor should the Church’s constant exhortation to spouses to respect that teaching, making any compromises and sacrifices necessary to preserve their marriage, be perceived as an impossible challenge.

Ideals and dreams can become realities; excellence and success can be achieved through hard work, persistence, sacrifice and at times, suffering.

Today’s selection from Hebrews indicates Our Savior was made perfect through suffering. The emotional and psychological distress He experienced in Gethsemane before His arrest and the physical ordeal of His Passion and crucifixion assure us He understands human fear and suffering.

Realizing Christ blesses and strengthens spouses through the sacrament of marriage, husbands and wives should turn to Him for guidance and direction when they experience problems and distress. As they help one another bear crosses together, spouses grow in love and respect for each other and strengthen their relationship.

Each year many couples renew their vows in the presence of family and friends as they celebrate silver, ruby, golden or diamond anniversaries — striking testimony that, with God’s help, married life can flourish and be the blessing the Lord God intended it to be.

Let us pray all Catholic couples planning to marry realize God’s blessing and the blessing of His Church can go a long way in helping them fulfill the dreams they have as they become Mr. and Mrs.[hr]

Readings for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Genesis 2: 18-24

Psalm 128: 1-2, 3, 4-5, 6

Hebrews 2: 9-11

Mark 10: 2-16 or Mark 10: 2-12

Father William R. Dulaney is a parochial vicar at St. Gregory the Great parish, Bellerose.