Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
Today the scripture reading is all about the Sacrament of marriage. I believe the Sacrament of Marriage is a SIGN OF GOD’S LOVE. We heard today in the scripture that “They are no longer two but one flesh.” The Catholic Church has suffered heavy losses through the scandalous sexual sins of a few priests. These priests were ordained in the Sacrament of Holy Orders to be a sign of God’s love for His people. Instead, the sign the world reads through the sins of these priests is that the Church is no longer trustworthy. Catholic married couples are also a sacrament, through the Sacrament of Matrimony, an outward sign of God’s love for the world. God so loved the world that He created us male and female. He poured out His love in our hearts so that married couples would take the lead in showing broken, bruised humanity how much God loves them. Therefore, no Catholic married couple should ever criticize a priest for being a poor sign of God’s love. Instead, they should look in the mirror, for a married couple is called to be a great sign of God’s love. One marriage rich in God’s love can greatly build up the Church. Far too many Catholic marriages in the USA end in divorce. No wonder the Church is weakened! People simply read the signs and conclude that God is not with the Church because wives and husbands don’t love each other. Couples, your marriage is not just about the two of you. Your marriage “has been decided in heaven”. Renew your love for each other “not because of lust, but for a noble purpose” of building up the kingdom of God. Let us pray heavenly Father, may all married couples reading this renew their vows to you and to each other today.
In the second part of the Gospel Jesus says, “Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Some years ago the Chicago Tribune carried an article entitled “Taking a Walk with My Grandson”, by Amelia Dahl. It was written in dialogue form and went something like this:
Ricky: Grandma, why do trees take their clothes off at the end of summer?
Grandma: Because they get worn out and must be exchanged for new ones.
Ricky: Where do their new clothes come from?
Grandma: From underneath the ground. Deep down, mother nature is busy preparing a new spring wardrobe for them.
Ricky: Grandma, did you ever notice that the sky looks like an upside-down lake?
Grandma: And those little white clouds look like sailboats, don’t they?
Ricky: I wonder where they’re sailing to.
Grandma: Maybe to a cloud meeting.
Ricky: What would they do there?
Grandma: Probably decide if the earth needs more rain.
Ricky: Gee, God thinks of everything, doesn’t he, Grandma?
That charming dialogue between Ricky and his grandma illustrates one of the points Jesus makes in today’s gospel: “Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Ricky’s grandma is a perfect model of an adult who has not lost her sense of childlike wonder. To wonder means to see things as children see them. It means to ask the same questions about them that children ask. To wonder means to see things as if we were looking at them for the first time. It means to see things with the freshness they had when they first tumbled bright and new and unspoiled from the creative hand of God. To wonder is to look at a field of wet grass after a rain and see the footprints of God. It is to look into the eyes of a child and see the fingerprints of God. That brings us to the practical message that is contained in today’s gospel. If we are finding it hard to pray or worship, maybe it’s because we have let our sense of childlike wonder go behind a cloud. Maybe it’s because we haven’t taken seriously Jesus’ words in today’s gospel: “Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Maybe it’s because we have lost our sense of childlike wonder at the world. Maybe it’s because it’s been too long since we’ve had a long walk and talk with one of our children and grandchildren. The modern novelist John Updike warns us what can happen when we lose tough with the younger members of God’s family. He says: “(If we adults) do not keep on speaking terms with children,” we cease being human beings “and become machines for eating and earning money.” “The tragedy of life,” said the great missionary Albert Schweitzer, “is what dies inside us while we live.” When our sense of wonder begins to die, then our sense of prayer and worship also begins to die. This is the important, practical word that Jesus speaks to each of us through today’s gospel.
Let’s close with a prayer. Please follow along with me in silence: God, help us keep our sense of wonder. Keep us from becoming blind to your fingerprints in the world around us, especially in the eyes and faces of children. Help us keep in touch with the little people around us so that we won’t forget what Jesus meant when he said, “Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Help us discover again how to wonder, so that through our wonder we may discover anew how to pray and worship. We make our prayer through Jesus the Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
God Bless You,