Friday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time
May 20, 2016 8:30am
Today’s gospel is one that I think we need to approach in a both/and way, and not in an either/or way.
Here is what I have in mind.
Here at Saint Margaret’s and I think in all parishes, we do our best to prepare couples well for marriage.
We talk with them and get to know them.
We get clear on their intentions to make this a life-long commitment, to make it an exclusive relationship, and if possible, to share their love by creating a family together.
There is a 100-question inventory that helps them to learn about themselves. There is a marriage preparation program with experienced couples.
And there is the careful planning of the wedding ceremony.
So, we do all of that.
And, most of the time, I feel good about the couples whose marriages I witness.
But sometimes, it doesn’t work out.
This can happen for a variety of reasons.
And sometimes it is clear, usually after counseling and some hard work, that the relationship cannot and maybe should not be restored.
And this is where the both/and comes in.
So while we lift up and work hard for the permanency of a marriage commitment, the Church also has a tradition of what we call annulments.
Pope Francis has made the annulment process simpler.
And there is even talk within the Church about allowing those divorced and remarried outside the Church to receive Communion.
And all of this is going on out a sense of empathy for the human situation, compassion, and we would say, mercy – God’s mercy when we do not fully live out the ideals or calling of the gospel.
That’s what I mean by a both/and approach.
I think it is a good way to appreciate what is going on in the Church today regarding the Sacrament of Marriage.