Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 66

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.

I launched this homily blog on this 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, six years ago, with these same readings. There have been some changes in our world since then.

Last summer the Supreme Court of the United States elected to change human nature itself as they "redefined" marriage. In this country people of the same sex have the "right" to marry one another. 
Catholic tradition, human history and common sense challenge decisions like this -- Roe v Wade, being another -- but until Wisdom demonstrates how wrong that ruling is, Catholics will stand as witnesses for the Sanctity of Marriage between one man and one woman. 

As we ponder these things, we can invoke the martyrs Saint John the Baptist and Saint Thomas Moore. In radically different circumstances both gave witness to the integrity of marriage. John fumed against Herod Antipas who had taken his brother's wife as his own. (He had probably murdered his brother to get at the woman.) Moore would not condone the divorce of King Henry VIII. Both were decapitated, a form of execution that has recently come back in fashion among those who despise the Truth.

The scriptures not only testify to the sanctity of marriage; they also show that the sacrament has always been controversial. There's a reason why the words -- ...a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body -- appear so early in the Bible. Even in those earliest days, some people wanted to define marriage in other ways.

Jesus' opponents dragged him into the controversy of his day and he did not hesitate to reiterate the teaching of Genesis.

He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”
This understanding of marriage is integral to the Gospel. To challenge Jesus' authoritative teaching on marriage is to risk total misunderstanding of his identity, his ministry and his message. He becomes just another sincere, befuddled prophet. Deprived of marriage the Church becomes a collection of individuals without husbands or wives, sons or daughters. 

Worse, to flout his authority is to risk one's salvation and that of those children and grandchildren who are deprived of the true faith by their distracted ancestor. 

We must understand that marriage mirrors the Love of God and his Church, which is far more than a "spiritual relationship" (That heresy is called gnosticism and it's been around forever.) 

Jesus is the Word of God made flesh; he is the incarnate marriage of divinity and humanity. A baby is the love of a husband and wife made flesh. The infant genetically resembles both parents and combines them in herself. When her parents look at her they see each other and the miracle of their flesh-made-one. 

To think that a man can marry a man is to spiritualize marriage. Their friendship may be admirable, but children cannot be generated between them. They cannot find their physical union in the body-person of a third.

They might adopt children and their adoption of orphans is certainly a generous act, but they will soon realize that these orphans are genetically strangers to them. Or, to at least one of them. We dare not intentionally deprive children of their right to live in the home of their married, natural parents. It's tragic when it happens accidentally, but a crime when it happens intentionally. 

I do not pretend to understand homosexuality, nor can I offer a simple formula to resolve the distress of so many homosexuals in a heterosexual world. No one should suffer discrimination for the way God created them. But I know a wrong answer when I see one. 

Simple solutions like divorce, abortion, capital punishment, gay marriage and suicide make matters worse for everyone. They only lead to deeper distress and more bad solutions.

The Sacrament of Marriage will survive as it has survived for millennia. When the United States and the Supreme Court are ancient words in dusty history books, Marriage will remain to testify to God's mercy. It is built upon the rock of faith, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. 

(There will be more reflections on this issue tomorrow, as we hear Saint Mark tell us that Jesus is the bridegroom.)

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. - H. L. Mencken


  1. My husband and I married later in life for the first time for both of us and cannot have a child because of menopause. Is the sacrament of marriage not for us or the countless other couples who share our similar situation?

    1. I would suppose you discussed your particular situation with your pastor before you married, and that he assured you of the validity of your sacrament.


I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.