I love you, Andrew. Reflection for marriages John 6:22-29

GOSPEL

Do not work for food that cannot last, but for food that endures to eternal life
From the Gospel according to John 
Jn 6:22-29

After Jesus had fed the five thousand, his disciples saw him walking on the water. Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves. Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten. When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’
  Jesus answered:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs
but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.
Do not work for food that cannot last,
but work for food that endures to eternal life,
the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you,
for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’
Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.’

The Gospel of the Lord

I love you, Andrew.

Sometimes we seek Jesus Jesus for the benefits He brings to us rather than for His own sake. What kind of genuine love can someone experience when they are only valued for their utility?
Let’s seek Christ for who He truly is; we are blessed enough to have the privilege of being in His presence. He has already bestowed upon us abundant blessings; there’s no need to incessantly ask for more.

Applied to Married Life:

Andrew: Martha, do you love me for myself or for what you receive from me?
Martha: Indeed, Andrew,I recognise the need to refine my affection because, in moments of lapse, I find myself focusing solely on what I receive from you to measure your love for me. I know it’s not about seeking my own interest but about surrendering to you like Christ.
Andrew: I feel the same way. But I see that when we decide to fully surrender, the Lord does great things in and through us.
Martha: The Lord is great.
Andrew: The Lord is everything.

Mother,

Increase my generosity so that I am willing to surrender like You. To surrender! So simple and yet, a lifelong endeavour. Praise be to the Lord who loves us so much. Amen.

Consequences of the Resurrected One. Reflection for marriages Luke 24, 35-48

GOSPEL

This is how it was written: the Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day. 
Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 24, 35-48.
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way,

and how Jesus was made known to them
in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”

Word of the Lord.
Consequences of the Resurrected One.
Seeing Christ resurrected seems incredible because everyone saw him die in agony. Seeing the consequences that the Resurrected One brings to our marriage also seems unbelievable, especially when it concerns a marriage that we had seen broken before. Yes, our path is that of Jesus, but from our vocation as spouses. The Messiah had to suffer greatly, and so do we. The only difference is that He carried our sins (everyone’s) and we must carry mine and my spouse’s (mainly).
But the story does not end there. The Lord rises and allows us to follow Him also on that path of resurrection. Ah! Miracle! And we who have lived this are witnesses. Therefore, we proclaim conversion in His name. It is necessary for my ego to die so that a “we” may be born. Spouses, let us live our cross; you will see and believe.
Applied to married life:
Javier: Are you saying that God is going to change things in our marriage?
Alicia: Absolutely, Javier. You have no idea how alive He is!
Javier: God is in heaven, and we are on earth. We need to be practical.
Alicia: No, Javier, God became man for a reason, He took on flesh for a reason, He has a human mother for a reason… Trust me, let’s prioritize where we need to. So far, being practical hasn’t worked for us, and there are many testimonies of those who have trusted in God and His plan, and He has intervened in their lives, changing them.
(And Alicia and Javier placed their lives in the service of the Lord, seeking His will at all times, and He changed their lives)
Mother,
Help me seek God’s will in everything, especially in times of difficulty, in inner battles… where I only need to pray, trust, and wait – the Lord will do the rest miraculously. Amen.

It was necessary. Reflection for marriages John 6, 16-21.

GOSPEL

They saw Jesus walking on the sea.
Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint John 6, 16-21.
When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea, embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum. It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.
When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat,
and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
They wanted to take him into the boat,
but the boat immediately arrived at the shore
to which they were heading.
The Gospel of the Lord.
It was necessary.
Jesus is always present in our lives and in all the circumstances we go through. We would like not to have to row, but He considers it necessary for us to do so. We need to miss Him, we need to discover our weaknesses and limitations without His grace to know how much we depend on Him.
Applied to Married Life:
Mercedes: I pray the rosary daily, I also go to Mass daily, we have conjugal prayer every day. Why is there still a conflict of wills between us?
Ramón: Mercedes, before the Lord starts leading us from the fifth dwelling that Saint Teresa explains, we must go through the previous four, and that means rowing a lot until we have a soft and humble heart. Without that, He can do nothing.
Mercedes: Yes, it’s true that I am a bit impatient, but I have such a strong longing for communion… I can’t help but feel pain for not being faithful to God’s will.
Ramón: Your longing is precious, and God has planted it in your heart so that you desire His plan with great strength. We embrace your longing and look at it with hope, knowing that the Lord accompanies us through our Sacrament. Praised be His name.
Mother,
Accompany us in this valley of tears. All for Him, with Him, and in Him.

I only ask for patience. Reflection for marriages John 6, 1-15

GOSPEL

He distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
Reading from the holy Gospel according to Saint John 6, 1-15.
Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.
The word of the Lord.
I only ask for patience.
Jesus tests Philip by making him realize a need that they did not have the capacity to fulfill. He then intervened to perform the miracle, an abundant miracle that far exceeded their need.
Do you know that Jesus also tests you and me? How many times do we experience our limitations and our inability to meet what our spouse needs from us, to respond also to what God expects from us?
We remember that great prayer of St. Augustine: “Lord, give me what you ask of me and ask me for what you want.” What a powerful and real prayer, because this prayer led St. Augustine from being a vicious, pleasure-addicted, and uncorrectable Augustine… to becoming the saint he was. And this change is not human. His mother suffered greatly and surely experienced desperation facing a son so lost and uncorrectable. But then God comes with His abundant grace, listens to their prayers, and exceeds all of St. Monica’s expectations.
So now, go, and do likewise. I only ask for “patience.”
Relating it to Married Life:
Clara: Forgive me, Javier, because how many times have I despaired because you weren’t doing what needed to be done on our path of conjugal spirituality. And precisely, clinging to my own strength and abilities has led me to live our marriage as if Christ were not in it.
Javier: I have to admit that I resisted a lot because your insistence and pressure pushed me back, Clara. Honestly, I didn’t see in you an example to follow, and that made me doubt a lot about your proposals.
Clara: But after hitting rock bottom many times, I have decided to rely on the grace of the Sacrament that unites us, which is much more powerful than me. So, I have relaxed and trusted. And “bam”, a miracle. The Lord has exceeded my expectations by far. Now I realize that He was testing me to see if I trusted in Him. Blessed and praised be the Lord.
Javier: Yes. When you relaxed and put your trust in Him, I started to see in you the reflection of the light that comes from the Lord, and that encouraged me to follow Him too. Blessed and praised be the Lord.
Mother,
May we overcome these tests that the Lord puts us through so that He can work the miracle and we can witness His love and His power. Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ forever.

What is my diet? Reflection for marriages John 3:31-36

GOSPEL

The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint John 3:31-36.
The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
What is my diet?
We are immersed in the trend of taking care of our bodies, and practically everyone pays a lot of attention to their diet. But what about the food for the soul? What spiritual diet do I follow? If I feed on the world, I will live with limited aspirations and a poor life. I cannot talk about God’s things or live according to them if I do not receive them from Him. Without communication with Him, I cannot understand His ways. Sometimes His ways may seem absurd, impossible, or I may be unable to grasp His greatness and beauty. The things of God, the greatest and most beautiful things that exist, might seem boring or uninteresting to me.
What I need to receive from God fundamentally is that immense Love of communion that They live within Themselves. That is our driving force, our origin. But to embrace it, I must have an open heart. Whoever welcomes God speaks of God’s things and acts like God, in His name, and that is far above any other mission in this world.
Relating it to married life:
Carmen: Today I was talking to my mother. Pedro, join me in praying for her and my sister’s family. My mother was telling me that my sister should separate, that she should not continue living with a man like that… It’s terrible! But what’s even worse is that she tells it to my sister like that. Can you believe it? On top of everything, pushing her to separate.
Pedro: Calm down, dear. I will join you in that prayer, so that the Holy Spirit may enlighten them. We ask for them to see the truth of the Gospel and desire to follow the ways of the Lord.
Carmen: Thank you very much, Pedro. I appreciate it so much because I know it is the only solution. I will also try to help the Lord as His instrument. I will talk to my sister, and invite her to a retreat of Proyecto Amor Conyugal so they can align with what God has designed for them.
Pedro: Great! We have a new mission from God. Let’s go for it!
Carmen: I love you.
Mother,
Give me that thirst for God, that gentleness to accept His will, and the enthusiasm to be a spouse who lives in His service. Send us His Holy Spirit. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.