In Response to the Piercing. Reflection for marriages: John 19:31-37

GOSPEL

Out of his pierced side there came out blood and water
From the Gospel according to John 
Jn 19:31-37

It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it – trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth – and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture:
“Not one bone of his will be broken”;
and again, in another place scripture says:
“They will look on the one whom they have pierced”.

The Gospel of the Lord
In Response to the Piercing

Today, on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we look upon the One we have pierced.
What is the response of His Most Sacred Heart? To pour out upon us His redeeming Blood and purifying water. That is the answer to my piercing.
But what Heart would use the wounds I inflict to shower me with all His Love and His last breath of Life?
Only the Heart of Jesus. Only God.

Applied to Married Life:

Sylvia: I gaze in awe at the Heart of Jesus, with that burning Love He needs to share with us as spouses, and I wonder, why don’t we use it to love each other more?
Richard: It’s incredible that the Lord offers us His Nuptial Love for us to enjoy with each other. I think the problem is that He gives it to us along with the Blood of Sacrifice, and that part we want to avoid.
Sylvia: Exactly. We want to live His glory but not His Cross. But I will not miss the opportunity to respond to His burning Love, so I offer myself to Him in sacrifice through Mary.
Richard: I won’t miss it either, so I too offer myself to Mary in sacrifice. Let Her decide for me.

Mother,
Totus Tuus ego sum.

Let her decide. Reflection for marriages Mark 12: 28-34

GOSPEL

‘You are not far from the kingdom of God’
From the Gospel according to Mark
Mk 12:28-34

One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.

The Gospel of the Lord

Let Her Decide

Loving God. That is the key. How to do it? With the heart, it is clear, as it means desiring only Him and His will, and that is already complicated. But what about the mind? And the whole being? I finally conclude that it will be He who makes it possible, because if I do it myself, I will only make a mess of things. My role is to throw myself into His Heart, like the lance that pierced it. He will be the one to welcome me into His wound.

Applied to Married Life:

John: Lord, I don’t see clearly what my wife is proposing. I’ve communicated my doubts to her, given her alternative options, and explained my reasons several times. Yet, despite everything, she sees it so clearly… And I feel that I am becoming internally troubled, and this situation is distancing me from her heart, which cannot be.
Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to offer you my mind and place it at Your service. I know what I will do. I will tell her that I trust her judgement more than my own and that we will do as she suggests. If she sees it so clearly, I will trust her judgement over mine. For the rest, I leave us in Mary’s hands for Her to guide us as she sees fit.

Mother,
Be the one to help me cross the threshold that separates me from the cross, so that my surrender may be complete, and my love for God and my husband may be total.

Holy Indifference. Reflection for marriages Mark 12:13-17

From the Gospel according to Mark

Mk 12:13-17
The chief priests and the scribes and the elders sent to Jesus some Pharisees and some Herodians to catch him out in what he said. These came and said to him, ‘Master, we know you are an honest man, that you are not afraid of anyone, because a man’s rank means nothing to you, and that you teach the way of God in all honesty. Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay, yes or no?’ Seeing through their hypocrisy he said to them, ‘Why do you set this trap for me? Hand me a denarius and let me see it.’ They handed him one and he said, ‘Whose head is this? Whose name?’ ‘Caesar’s’ they told him. Jesus said to them, ‘Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.’ This reply took them completely by surprise.
The Gospel of the Lord
Holy Indifference

Today, the Pharisees and the Herodians, bitter enemies, unite to trap Jesus. They try to corner Him into choosing between submission to Roman rule, as the Herodians believed was right, or opposition to it, as the Pharisees advocated. Hence the hypocrisy of those who seemingly come to ask the Teacher a question, pretending a desire for fidelity to the truth.

But thanks to this question, we have an answer from Christ that is relevant for us today: If we do not detach ourselves from money, we cannot give to God what belongs to Him. This is today’s lesson: Only if we detach ourselves from the things of this world will we be free to give ourselves to God. To Him and only to Him do we belong (give to God what is God’s).

Applied to Married Life:

Luke: It’s so difficult to be in the world without being of the world. I know it’s the path to true communion with the Lord and to living a marriage with you as God intended, but honestly, I don’t know how to detach from worldly things when I’m at work.
Lynn: I’d say you need to achieve holy indifference, which makes you free. Do what you can, placing your work in God’s hands each morning. But the outcomes should be indifferent to you. If you meet your goals, it’s by His grace, and if not, praise Him because that’s His will. When you start feeling fear, stress, or overthinking instead of praying, these are signs that you’re not free for God.
Luke: I understand, but it seems very difficult to achieve. I imagine it’s a process. To start, I need to get used to putting everything in His hands and sincerely saying, “Your will be done.”
Lynn: Exactly. Take steps, and you’ll see how the Lord helps you. By the way, I saw a lovely dress. Should I buy it?
Luke: Whatever you want.
Lynn: I don’t mind either way.
Luke: Do you need it?
Lynn: Need it, need it… not really.
Luke: Then let’s leave it, shall we?
Lynn: Sounds great. Thank you for helping me discern God’s will! I also want to be free for Him and for you.

Mother,
We belong to God. To Him be all honour and glory forever. Amen.

Family Sacrifices. Reflection for marriages Mark 12:1-12

GOSPEL

From the Gospel according to Mark
Mk 12:1-12

They seized the beloved son, killed him and threw him out of the vineyard
Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes and the elders in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug out a trough for the winepress and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce from the vineyard. But they seized the man, thrashed him and sent him away empty-handed. Next he sent another servant to them; him they beat about the head and treated shamefully. And he sent another and him they killed; then a number of others, and they thrashed some and killed the rest. He had still someone left: his beloved son. He sent him to them last of all. “They will respect my son” he said. But those tenants said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” So they seized him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. Now what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and make an end of the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this text of scripture:
It was the stone rejected by the builders
that became the keystone.
This was the Lord’s doing
and it is wonderful to see?
And they would have liked to arrest him, because they realised that the parable was aimed at them, but they were afraid of the crowds. So they left him alone and went away.

The Gospel of the Lord

Family Sacrifices

The story of the Ugandan martyrs, whom we commemorate today, is beautiful, including that of Charles Lwanga. It was a cruel slaughter orchestrated by King Mwanga, who surrounded himself with young Christians. Some time later, influenced by Islamic customs, he fell into the worst debauchery. As the young Christians opposed his deplorable advances, he initiated a bloody persecution against “all those who prayed.” This led to a series of horrific tortures and martyrdoms, with some even volunteering for the ordeal. The result? Shortly thereafter, the persecutors died miserable deaths, while the masses flocked to be baptised. Today, this has resulted in a flourishing faith, with six dioceses bearing great Christian fruit. Another example of how martyrs have sustained and proliferated the Church through the offering of their blood. Let us offer our small sacrifices, which do not reach the level of bloodshed (if God wills it so), but which the Lord highly values and which make us His witnesses. As today’s Psalm says: “I will be with him in trouble.”

Applied to Married Life:

Leo: What do you think is the best testimony we can leave to our children?
Scarlett: I believe it’s the sacrifices made out of love. It is the best testimony Christ left us, showing that He loves us to the utmost. It is also the testimony of many martyrs who have sustained and proliferated the Church.
Leo: Do you think the children should be aware of these sacrifices?
Scarlett: I think so. Christ did not hide His Sacrifice.
Leo: That sounds excellent. What do you think about us committing to a sacrifice out of love for each other and sharing it with our children? Perhaps they might even want to join in somehow.
Scarlett: I love it. Family sacrifices. It sounds wonderful.

Mother,
We offer ourselves to the Father through You. You will transform our small deeds into offerings pleasing to God. To Him be the glory and praise forever.

Hunger with a Capital H. Reflection for marriages Mark 14:12-16,22-26

GOSPEL

This is my body; this is my blood
From the Gospel according to Mark 
Mk 14:12-16,22-26

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was sacrificed, his disciples said to Jesus, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him, and say to the owner of the house which he enters, “The Master says: Where is my dining room in which I can eat the passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large upper room furnished with couches, all prepared. Make the preparations for us there.’ The disciples set out and went to the city and found everything as he had told them, and prepared the Passover.
  And as they were eating he took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. ‘Take it,’ he said ‘this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them, ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.’
  After psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives.

The Gospel of the Lord
Hunger with a Capital H
Do you experience hunger? Christ chooses a basic food like bread to come to us so that everyone can understand: Are you hungry? Eat bread and it will give you life. Is your spirit hungry? Eat the Bread of Eternal Life.
But it all starts with hunger: Do I have a Hunger for the Lord?
How important it is to have a Hunger for the Lord, a hunger we capitalise for its significance and its reference to Christ. Ask for the Hunger, cultivate the Hunger, savour the Hunger.
When we read about the Hunger that the Saints had, it becomes contagious. With that intense Hunger, I come to see you, Lord, to be with you and to receive Holy Communion, so that I may be in You and You in me.
Applied to Married Life:
George: One reads about the lives of the saints, and they are so different from each other… One doesn’t know whom to imitate.
Dawn: I believe, my dear, that we don’t have to imitate their path, because we have our own. Now we are courting, and if God wills, He will unite us in Holy Matrimony. But one common factor among the Saints is their Hunger for God. I think that is the key we should imitate.
George: You are right, darling, we need to be more with Him, to fall madly in love with Him, to feed on Him, and to let Him govern our lives.
Dawn: How important it is to have a Hunger for Him. I want that, do you?
George: I do too. Shall we ask for it daily from now on?
Dawn: Yes, let’s ask Mary. No one better than Her to give us a Hunger for the Lord.
Mother,
Give us Hunger with a capital H and give it to our children. Much, more, even more. Thank you, Mother.