In my ministry with engaged couples, we use FOCCUS, which is a
process instrument designed to ‘Facilitate Open Couple Communication,
Understanding and Study’, as the couple determines their readiness
to enter into a covenant with one another. It is on the basis of
the couple’s truly being themselves with one another and accepting
one another that they are able to choose to begin the life-long
journey together of faithfulness in the sacrament of marriage. As
all married couples know, the celebration of marriage is only the
beginning of this on-going living out of a relationship that is
open to growing in knowledge and love of and with one another.
In today’s readings, the understanding of covenant is front
In Genesis, God is entering a covenant of faithfulness with Abraham
(and Sarah). God’s pledge of presence to Abraham (and Sarah)
is also with all their descendents, and God says: “I will
be their God”. God also says…”On your part, you
and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout
In John’s Gospel, Jesus is attempting to help the people in
the temple to understand what it means to accept God’s promise,
“I will be their God’. However, the lack of their understanding
prompts Jesus to declare, “you do not know God, but I know
God…and I keep God’s word…before Abraham came
to be, I AM.” This is too much for the people to accept, and
they pick up stones to throw at Jesus.
Just as two individuals’ marriage promise to enter into covenant
with one another is awesome…even mind-boggling, as one realizes
that it is utter trust and love in another human being that is meant
to be a dynamic, ever evolving living into the meaning of faithfulness
with one another, our covenant with God is overwhelming and awe-inspiring.
Do we truly believe that God invites us into an ongoing relationship…and
is ever faithful to us? Can we trust ourselves to say ‘yes’
to this relationship with God…even as we know that we may
stumble in our ability to grasp what tremendous love this means
from our God?
Luckily, we do not need to grasp this all at once and we don’t
have to do it ourselves! It IS a relationship, which means that
it evolves, and does not depend on us, ourselves. It is WITH God,
which means that we only need to open ourselves to the possibility
of God’s presence in our lives…to honestly open ourselves
to God’s love, and to willingly accept that love as a life
force in our day to day living, so that we may grow into the person
God is calling us to be.
As in all relationships – it takes time, dedication, and presence
to the Other. How do I/we make time to be present to our God? Do
we believe that God truly loves us and desires to be with/for us?
I pray for the grace to be open to the God of love…to accept
and invite God in the midst of my life…to try to learn that
I am not alone in opening myself to the tremendous presence of God’s
presence in my life…God is there for and with me, and that
makes all the difference!