Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Readings: Lev 13:1-2, 44-46; 1 Cor. 10:31-11:1; Mk 1:40-45
This weekend on the eve of St. Valentine, we celebrate World Marriage Day. Ironically, the readings are not about marriage, but about the mystery of Christ a friend of outcasts, who does the impossible by touching the untouchable out of compassion and God’s loving care. One of the legends from the third century about St. Valentine says that he was a young priest who was martyred in Rome because the Emperor had issued a decree delaying marriage for young men in order to send then into the military. He argued that the unmarried ones proved to be better soldiers. St. Valentine defied the emperor’s order and out of compassion continued to perform marriages of young men and women and one day he was caught and martyred. What the saint was doing out of compassion was to bring about healing of the human heart that yearns for fulfilment. The Church celebrates marriage precisely in order to bring about that deeper healing that only the Sacrament of Marriage can bring about. Marriage is a communion of two persons, a man and a woman, whose love is configured to and shaped by, the very love and compassion Jesus reveals in the healing he performs in today’s Gospel.
Therefore the love that forms the communion between husband and wife is the same healing and compassionate love of Jesus who joins every couple together for the healing of their body and spirit. That is why we call marriage a sacrament. Marriage as a sacrament makes the love and compassion of Jesus Christ intimately present. Christian marriage is in fact a participation in God’s economy of healing love that comes from Jesus Christ in the sacrament of marriage. In married love, God’s grace continually bring about that mutual healing and compassion that Jesus proclaims in today’s Gospel. It is not just about healing of sickness, but about the healing of our human yearning for communion that is anticipated through the sacrament of marriage.
On this World Day of Marriage, the Church offers an opportunity to all married couples to strengthen their bond of communion in a society where marriage is under attack from all sides. Whatever it takes to strengthen your union with each other and with Christ, do it. The old saying of Father Patrick Payton is still valid as it was in the 1950s. “The family that prays together remains together.”
What message do we take home? 1) The central message of this Sunday is that Jesus out of compassion can touch us and heal and strengthen our life spiritually. 2) But like the leper in the Gospel we must go forward and ask Jesus to heal us. We must never be ashamed or in self-denial of our need for healing. 3) If ever we find our marriage on the rocks, we must never remain there but go forward seeking healing from Jesus, and he will once again pour our into your heart that love you so badly desire.
©2012 John S. Mbinda