Year B: 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35
As with last week’s reading - so with this - a reading which has been used to set the married and single state in opposition. In general, it was held that the true vocation of a Christian was a single-minded devotion to the service of God. For those not called to such a high estate, marriage and family-life was permissible but was seen as inferior and less likely to lead to holiness.
It is true that in a marriage, the attention of the spouses has to be directed one to another. Parents have to give attention to their children in order that they should grow up healthy and ready to take on adult responsibilities in their turn. Many have found that, in their ministry - one to another - their capacity to love has increased. They have felt strongly that, in loving each other, they have learnt to love God more; in serving each other, they have found themselves serving Christ.
Over the centuries, the Church has evolved her teaching and in the document “Lumen Gentium” (Light to the Nations), expresses its belief in the importance of family life:
“A true Christian home is a school of the apostolate in its constant witness to Christ. The true Christian family proclaims the present power of God’s kingdom and its hope for the future world”
Perhaps, as never before, society needs the example of Christian families. Many people have lost faith in marriage - and the family has too often been a place where children have been abused or neglected rather than cherished and nurtured.
One of the things which attracted people to the early Christian communities was the love that they showed one for another. Women were not seen as chattels to be married or divorced at whim. Their roles were different from those of their husbands - as was the custom of the day - but they were acknowledged as co-heirs of redemption. Children were seen as a blessing. If a child was born weak or handicapped, it was not left to die - as was seen as the father’s right - but welcomed as a gift of God.
Founding marriage on love rather than a contract between families was one of the hallmarks of Christian family life. Then - and now - such families can offer hope to others - people matter - children are precious - we believe in the future - for that is our children’s heritage.
What does it mean for me?
© 2006 Wellspring