From the Gospel according to Mark. Mk 1:14-20
Repent and believe the good news!
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”. As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,”Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Leaving father and mother.
I have always wondered how poorly Zebedee must have felt when a stranger arrives, invites his sons to follow him, and they leave him alone with the boat and the nets. I have also wondered, what about Jesus? Doesn’t it bother him that Zebedee’s sons are leaving him alone? He could have at least called one and left the other… But God makes no mistakes. When He calls you, He calls you, and we must respond despite everything we leave behind.
It is relatively common for one of the spouses to have some “attachment” to their family of origin. First, because they are accustomed to being subject to their parents and depending on them; second, because there is affection and a sense of indebtedness towards them; and third, because with their family of origin, they feel “at home,” as it is where they were born and raised. But when I get married, God calls me to serve through my marriage, and that implies detaching myself from my parents. Can this cause them some kind of “pain”? It may be so, but it is God’s call, and He does not make mistakes. Not in vain, the family of origin often becomes one of the main reasons for breakups in marriages. It’s sadly ironic.
Therefore, there is a clear command from God: “A man (or woman) will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife (or husband), and the two will become one flesh. What God has joined together, let no one separate.” Christ explicitly mentions this because there may be a temptation to “leave” my spouse out of pity or a certain preference for my parents or siblings, and that is not what God wants. He wants me to become one flesh with my spouse, for that is why He created me.
Applied to married life.
James: My mother says we should come for lunch on Saturday.
Laura: James, it can not spend every weekend at your parents’ house. If we barely see each other during the week, on Saturday, we’re with your parents, and on Sunday, with mine. What time is left for us?
James: Well… they look forward to it, and it’s just a short time for lunch.
Laura: No, James. In the end, we don’t do anything else all day. Between you going, starting lunch late, then an eternal after-meal chat, helping to clear the table, and afterwards, it’s time for the children’s snack… We end up with no desire for anything else, and we go home to the couch. We don’t go on outings together, we no longer have our moments to talk, there are no moments to nurture our family, our own.
James: I understand. That should not be neglected. If you agree, from now on, we’ll plan weekends based on our plans. First, you and I; second, our own family; and any time left, we’ll dedicate to the extended family, friends, and others. Does that sound good to you?
Laura: Yes, thank you for understanding, James. Also, I needed to know that I am your priority. Sometimes I feel like you worry more about your parents than us.
James: Don´t be silly… You are my life, and you always will be. And after you, our little ones. I love you, I adore you.
Sometimes we are not aware of the importance of our vocation and that it is God who calls us to marriage, and it is God who wants us to focus on becoming one. Sometimes, we disguise as good to focus our attention and charity on other things or people that distract us from our vocation.
Mother, teach us to be faithful to our call, as you were. You subjugated anything else to your vocation as the Mother of God. Teach me to do the same with my vocation. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.