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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Homily 8/26/2012 Marriage and the Eucharist

 Joshua places before the people of Israel the honest dilemma they must address: they have to make a choice whether it is the Lord whom they will serve, or another.
This is exactly what Christ does is the Gospel today, he has check-mated those followers who wished to make him into a political hero or a wise teacher and commentator of Jewish Tradition. He leaves them to make a statement of faith in who He is, as the living God who has “the words of everlasting life.” Jesus turns and asks us, “Do you also go away?”
St. Pius X, with his papal motto of “to renew all things in Christ” made that choice for The Lord. Besides his dedication to the Sacred Liturgy and Sacred Music, one of the things St. Pius X is most well-known for is lowering the required age of reception of Holy Communion to children at the age of reason. If they know the Lord, they can choose the Lord, and can thus start to receive Him in Holy Communion.
Today, however, I would like to talk about our second reading and its connection to the Eucharist. In the second reading, we hear Saint Paul talk about marriage, telling wives to be subordinate to their husbands, and husbands to love their wives both as their own selves, and in the same way that Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. Here Saint Paul makes clear that the Lord defines love for us, the Lord initiates love for us, the Lord teaches love to us. Love is not what we feel; it is not what the world says; not what the movies tell us. No; God is love and he defines it, and that definition is made public on Calvary. Love is defined by the cross.
The relationship between Christ and the Church is often expounded throughout Scripture as the love of Bridegroom and Bride. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, directly quoting a Vatican II document, summarizes this in paragraph 757: "The Church, further, which is called 'that Jerusalem which is above' and 'our mother', is described as the spotless spouse of the spotless lamb. It is she whom Christ 'loved and for whom he delivered himself up that he might sanctify her.' It is she whom he unites to himself by an unbreakable alliance, and whom he constantly 'nourishes and cherishes.'"(LG 6)
This is why the new edition of the Roman Missal prays after the Our Father for Christ to “look of upon the faith of [his] Church and be pleased to grant her peace and unity in accordance with [his] will.”

The great mystery of our life as a Christian people united in Christ is found in the mystery of marriage, of the love of bridegroom and bride. What a great and high calling! Husbands and wives are called to love with the radical love of the cross, they are meant to be an open book of the Gospel, making visible in our day and age the love of Christ for his people.
Could we ever love that intensely and perfectly on our own?? No way! Luckily, husbands and wives, God will not abandon you. In fact, He comes so close in the Eucharist precisely because He wants to strengthen us to love like this, whether we are married or not. And in fact, we must rely on God in our daily prayer and in reception of the Eucharist, which makes the cross present in our lives, which makes the source of all love, God Himself, present in our time and place and in our very souls when we receive him.
On this feast of our patron, let us pray for families to love like this, for people to be strengthened by the Eucharist, the source of love.

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