Sunday, October 7, 2012

TableTalk, Sunday, 27 Ordinary, B: MARRIAGE

The Word opens with the contemporary and controversial question:  who is the "suitable partner" for Adam?  Genesis boldly responds:  there is none, except woman.  In the Gospel of the day, Jesus states the bottom line about their union:  once united, always united.

What to recommend for staying married?  First, that each of the two spouses should know self, one's personal needs, goals, potential, limits.  The self is the gift given to the other.  What kind of gift is the unknown?

Second, each spouse must know the other through communication.  The dialogue of all dialogues is the mutual posing and answering of questions like:  how are you today?  what do you need today?  how can I love you today?  how can I be more married to you today?  how am I doing as a parent with you today?  All other dialogues eventually falter without attention to this kind of verbal and non-verbal talk. And marriage soon becomes a pair of individualists living side by side without ever touching.

Third, spouses must share and hold to a good and solid vision of marriage.  In Christian tradition, this involves seeing marriage always as a triangle between the one, the other and God.  It means living into one flesh, rather than negotiating the terms of contract. Good and solid vision accepts the marriage union as indissoluble, fundamentally unbreakable, and proposes fidelity without fudging in any way.  The vision embraces the principle that marriage is open to procreation.  (In Catholic perspective, a decision before marriage to the contrary by either spouse invalidates it.)  Finally, good and solid vision sees the couple as always on Christian mission.  Marriage is not simply a question of establishing a relationship and closing the doors of a home behind it.  Rather, it is a public parable of love, having the intention of influencing the world around it.  The consequences of not sharing and holding to a good and solid vision are serious.  Without the vision, married life can quickly lose its sense.  Lacking the vision can open the door to difficulties and deviations that are eventually destructive not only to couple and family, but also to Church and society.

The Sunday Eucharist celebrates the lasting and good marriage between God and humanity, forged by the death and resurrection of Christ.  It is also the Table that makes available vision and power to stay married.

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