As I reflected on today’s readings, my position as marriage
preparation facilitator brought insights into today’s theme
of faithful covenant.
In our Judeo-Christian tradition, marriage is a life-time commitment
in a covenant to and with one another. Therefore, programs such
as FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding
and Study) provide a means to further the understanding of one another
in order to truly enter into such a momentous promise. As Catholics
since the twelfth century have believed, this celebration of covenant
is also a sacrament between the husband and wife because it is not
only proclaiming a love commitment/relationship between the spouses
for the whole of their lives. It also means that the husband and
wife’s living out of this covenant promise witnesses/signifies
God’s ongoing love and covenant with us, as well as Christ’s
faithful presence in the faithful as the living body of Christ on
What an awesome promise a couple makes on their wedding day –
not only to and with one another, but also to the community…to
be faithful to one another and to live their lives together as images
of God’s faithful love and covenant with us!
Today’s scriptures can be read with this in mind.
Joshua, nearing the end of his life, is attempting to impress upon
his community the tremendous love, care and concern that God has
for the people by living out a faithful covenant of ongoing presence
throughout their history.
The psalmist echoes the refrain of God’s faithfulness in Psalm
136 over and over again, “Give thanks to God who is good,
for God’s steadfast love endures forever.”
In Matthew’s gospel (sort of ‘coming in the back door
at the meaning of covenant), Jesus responds to the Pharisees’
question regarding divorce by saying that , ‘…Because
of the hardness of your hearts, Moses allowed divorce but from the
beginning it was not so…. Not all can accept this word…Whoever
can accept this ought to accept this.’ (However not all
marriages are signs of God’s faithful covenant and may end
in divorce or separation. In fact, the US
Bishops Pastoral, ‘When I Call For Help’ updated
in 2002, addresses the horror of domestic violence and assures that
the teaching on the permanence of marriage does not require individuals
to stay in an abusive relationship.)
It is evident to me that the scriptures are calling me/us to reflect
on God’s ever present love, concern and faithfulness in our
But how do we know/recognize God’s faithfulness in our daily
lives? I can ‘know’ that God is present to me, but until
I take the time to actually relate to/ be present to God…I
really am not/cannot be in relationship/covenant with God. It is
very much like having a friend or family member present, but we
are not ‘tuned in’ or attentive to her/him.
So…when I’m on retreat…I really am able to take
the time to be open/present to God’s movement in my day. The
challenge however is in the nitty-gritty of everyday life with so
many ‘have to’s, lists and demands on my time.
My prayer for each of us today is that we take that extra little
‘break’ in our day to just ‘be’ with/for
God in our midst so that we can catch a glimpse of that wonderfully
faithful loving God that we’ve been reminded to ‘tune’
into through today’s readings.