For the complete Sunday readings click here.
“Daddy, where do babies come from?” Yikes. All parents of young children have been faced with this question. For some of us, it was a scary moment. Others probably handled it better than I did. What is the right answer?
If I had a do-over on that one, I think I would answer like this, “Babies come from LOVE.” Maybe it’s not the whole answer, but it’s not wrong. God is love (1 John 4:8). And my babies came from the love my wife and I have for each other. This kind of love isn’t just affection or even friendship (or romantic attraction), but from a deep, intimate, self-sacrificing love that God gave us for each other.
Out of this kind of love, God gave us the ability to make children. I remember the first time it really struck me that God gifted my wife and I the ability to co-create another human. This little baby my wife is holding has a soul. This human is made in the image and likeness of God, just like Adam and Eve. This is such a powerful and amazing reality. God gives us the ability to co-create a human with a soul – a human that God wants to live with forever in heaven. Wow.
In the gospel this weekend, Jesus talks about marriage and children. He does so because both of these pieces of the human experience are so incredibility powerful and important. Marriage is good. Children are good. Both cost us something personally, but that is good too.
The thing is that we live in this broken world. Divorce rates are high, marriages are in trouble, infidelity seems commonplace, spouses barely talk to each other because they are so busy, and even solid marriages struggle with everyday issues.
We’ve all been touched by the pain of broken marriages and hurt spouses. The reason broken relationships and struggling marriages hurt so much is because marriages are so good.
Jesus’ teaching about remarriage and adultery is hard to hear, and for some it is particularly painful. Does it mean Jesus has abandoned some of us?
If this scripture was the only thing Jesus says about marriage and brokenness, then the struggle we have to live up to this high standard for marriage might cause us to be tempted to lose heart. But Jesus said he came, not to condemn the world, but to save it. Jesus promises to be with us always. Jesus promises to struggle alongside us. Jesus doesn’t just promise us, he shows his unconditional love for us when he dies on the cross.
When does God love? When we need it the most. God doesn’t just love us when we are doing our best, but God loves us when are far short of perfect.
So when your marriage is a source of life and joy, thank God! When everything falls apart and you are hurt and broken and the very foundation of your life seems over, seek Jesus Christ. If you feel like the Church or Jesus is telling you “stay away” because of your sin, they are not! God calls all of us sinners close to him.
Thank God for love. Whether that is children, spouse, friendship or community offer up a prayer of thanks for the love in your life.
PS – Have you heard any of the homilies from HNOJ’s homily series “God: Who does he think he is?” Find them here.