Brothers and sisters:
Jesus reminds His challengers and us that in our lives the most important thing is to love God and love our neighbor. We should gauge everything we do by this foundation. That does not mean things will always go comfortably, nor should we expect it in this world. “In this world you will have trouble, but fear not, I have overcome the world,” Jesus tells us. Meanwhile, like St. Paul and those who imitate him by striving to imitate the Lord, we continue the journey amidst joys and trials with our eyes on the goal: life with Christ. Pope Francis had mentioned that “plates will fly” in marriages, but then there is forgiveness and the on-going journey of learning what it means practically to love God and neighbor. Love grows deeper along with understanding oneself, one another, and God; and accepting that embracing the mystery of Love involves a journey we are still carrying out as pilgrims.
Pope Francis concluded the preparation for the Synod on the Family (taking place next year) commenting on the path of solidarity, a “journey together:” “As in every journey there were moments of traveling smoothly and swiftly, as if wishing to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible, and moments of fatigue, of wanting to say ‘enough,’ and at other times, moments of enthusiasm and ardor. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and pains of the faithful; moments of consolation, grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and joy of married life. It is a journey during which the stronger are compelled to help those who are less strong, and the more experienced lend themselves to serve others, also through debate” (VIS 10/20/14). The Holy Father goes on to say that he would be concerned if there were not animated discussions along with temptations. He lists five temptations: “hostile inflexibility, closing oneself within the written word, the letter of the law rather than the spirit, not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, and cleaving to the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. This, He said, is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and the so-called ‘traditionalists and intellectuals.’ Then there is the temptation of ‘do-goodism’, that in the name of deceptive mercy binds wounds without first treating and healing them; that addresses symptoms rather than causes and roots. It is the temptation of do-gooders, of the fearful, and also of the so-called ‘progressives and liberals.’ The third temptation is to transform stones into bread to break the long, hard, and painful fast; and also to transform bread into stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick; to transform it into unbearable burdens. The fourth is the temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, rather than remaining there in order to fulfill the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and turning it to the Spirit of God. Finally, there is the temptation to neglect the ‘depositum fidei’ (deposit of faith), thinking of ourselves not as guardians but as its owners and masters; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous and pompous language to say much yet at the same time saying nothing. However, the Holy Father commented these temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us… He expressed joy at having heard speeches and interventions full of faith, pastoral and doctrinal zeal, wisdom, frankness, courage, and parrhesia … This occurred without ever calling into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of Marriage, its indissolubility, unity, faithfulness, fruitfulness, and openness to life.” The Pope urged calmness and inner peace through this process in the presence of the guarantor of faith. The Holy Spirit is always with the Bride of Christ in this journey through troubled times.
In Christ, son of Mary,