| By Bishop Earl Boyea

Upholding true marriage

In this ongoing Easter season, we continue to recognize that Jesus is Lord, which means that he, the Son of God, is the Lord of our lives. His words, his deeds, his life and his death are all guides for how we are to live as his followers. Thus, when he stated: “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.” (Mt 19:4-6; see also Mk 10:5-8)

Here we could reflect on how this teaching calls us to uphold the permanence of a true marriage, but the text also calls us to question our culture’s acceptance of a re-definition of marriage. For even if society has chosen to do this, we who are followers of Christ cannot; there is this teaching of Jesus about the male and female becoming one flesh.

Now, we all know this is a very sensitive topic especially since it affects people we know and love. Thus, we need to teach on this matter and accompany our brothers and sisters with compassion and love. Nonetheless, we also need to speak the truth, which Jesus proclaimed that he was.

Marriage is a vocation, a calling from God. This vocation, by its very nature, is to be permanent, exclusive, fruitful and between a male and female. This is the way that a vocation from God is blessed. In any vocation, we are invoking God’s blessing not only on the ceremony for that vocation, but also on the living out of that vocation.

Now, again, recognizing that same-sex attraction is usually not something freely chosen by an individual, we are called to treat all our sisters and brothers with great compassion. But we do not serve our Lord by teaching something contrary to his own teachings and contrary to something which has been consistently taught by the Church for 2,000 years. We all need to be able and willing to listen to the struggles of those around us, but also accompany them as together we seek to follow the truths of our faith and follow a life of chastity.

We firmly believe, that by following Jesus’ teachings and by living out the vocation of marriage, we will be a blessing to our culture and world. The joys and difficulties of the married life will be aided greatly by God’s blessings, especially as these flow through the sacramental life of the Church, which is the body of Christ.

In this month of June when so many weddings are celebrated and anniversaries remembered, it is good for us to renew our commitment to be followers of Jesus Christ in our married and family life. My own parents celebrate their 69th anniversary this month. This commitment to our spouse, lived out in great charity, will be a wonderful way to be missionary disciples and to Announce the Gospel of the Lord.