Celebrate Sunday Mass - 1.16.22

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1/14/2022 (1 week ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

January 16, 2022 -- Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...

I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO SUNDAY MASS on January 16, 2022, in the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, Texas. 

Our readings all use marriage as the framework within which to help us understand the Lords love for the Church.  That is because marriage is His plan. From the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, we discover that loving plan. In the context of his first gift of creation, God fashioned us in His own image. (Genesis 1:26) In the second chapter of Genesis we also read, "It is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). 

The two, male and female coming together in marriage, become one. This unity reflects the unity of God. Though God is One, the Christian faith proclaims that God is a Trinity of persons in perfect unity. The Oneness is not solitary, but a reflection of Love giving itself away to the other in a Trinitarian communion. The mutual expression of love in Marriage opens the married couple to participation in God's loving plan for their holiness and draws them into a missionary life. 

Though marriage is known to all cultures, in Sacred Scripture and in the Christian tradition, it takes on a greater meaning. We learn that God is self-giving love and that informs our understanding of marriage. We learn to give as integrated human persons, body, soul and spirit, through marriage, is a holy calling. It is no accident that the imagery of marriage is used throughout the entire Old Testament as a metaphor for God's love for Israel (Hosea 2: 19,20).

In Jesus Christ, marriage is elevated to a mystery that reveals Christ's love for His Bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:32). And this mystery casts light back on "ordinary" marriage between man and woman. The word mystery is derived from the Greek, Mysterion, the word translated as sacrament as well in the western church. The Catholic teaching is that Marriage is a Sacrament, a source of grace and a sign of Christs love for His Bride, the Church.

From antiquity the Christian family has also been called the domestic church. The Christian family is the smallest cell of the Body of Christ. It is in the domestic church of the family where progress in Christian maturity takes place. It is a seedbed of holiness for the spouses, teaching them the path of selfless love. It is a school of virtue for the children and the first place of evangelization and catechesis. 

In our first reading, the Lord speaks through the great Hebrew prophet Isaiah to his people, Israel. He promises His people, "...you shall be called "My Delight," and your land "Espoused." For the LORD delights in you and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you."

This spousal language runs throughout the prophetic literature of the Hebrew scriptures and is especially prevalent in Isaiah and Hosea. 

In the Gospel appointed for today, we hear of the first of seven signs recounted in the Gospel of St John, the Wedding at Cana. Jesus turns the water into wine. He also elevates marriage to the level of a sacrament, a means of grace for the spouses and a sign of Christs love for His Church. She is His Bride and He is the bridegroom Church he is speaking of Christs love for His Church. 

This is the mystery to which the Apostle Paul so often points in his letters to the early churches. At the end of his profoundly important instructions about marriage to the early Church (Ephesians 5) he opens the mystery up with this line, "This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church." (Eph. 5:32)

There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion in heaven and the life to come.

Both Christian marriages, as it is consecrated to the Lord in a sacramental bond, and consecrated celibacy for the sake of the kingdom to come, participate in the one spousal or nuptial mystery. Christian marriage participates in a mediated way, through a husband or a wife. Voluntary, consecrated celibacy participates in an immediate and prophetic way - forsaking an earthly spouse to stand in this world as a symbol of the life to come. The consecrated celibate is married already to the bride, Christ's Church, and is free to minister accordingly, revealing the mystery for all in a prophetic sign.

So, Christian marriage and consecrated Christian celibacy participate in the one spousal or nuptial mystery. They both lead us into communion with the Lord. They also position us for mission. And what is our mission? 

The account of the wedding at Cana also helps us understand. 

Mary was there at the Wedding Feast at Cana in Galilee, when the first of the Lord's signs occurred - in a response to and as a fruit of - her intercession. It was there she gave that sage and still relevant advice to all those in attendance at that wedding and to all who throughout human history seek to follow her Son, "Do whatever He tells you". She still invites that kind of response through the testimony of her simple, surrendered life which continues to witness throughout human history to all men and women who choose to follow her Son, the Redeemer of the world.So, lets us respond to this charge "Do whatever He tells you."

Have a Blessed Lords Day,

Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation

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