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Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Eph. 5:21-33 & Lk. 13:18-21

Engaged couples sometimes choose today's First Reading for their Nuptial Mass, because it not only reveals the physical unity of marriage but also the spiritual unity that spouses are called to in Christ. When two people marry they are full of idealistic hopes and dreams. As the years pass and they face the trials and crosses of life, they begin to realise things about their personalities that could interfere with their desire for unity. If this happens they should recall their wedding vows, made before God, to love and to cherish each other in good times and bad.

The world today speaks of the importance of equality in the marital relationship, but God's ideal is perfect unity. Saint Paul taught that when the sacrament of marriage is lived out, Jesus becomes present in a discernible way within the relationship. He becomes the one who ministers to the husband and wife as they lay down their own lives and seek to serve each other in love. God has poured the Holy Spirit into our hearts to draw us into unity with Himself and each other. If we but ask, the Holy Spirit will transform us into servants of one another, full of mutual love and respect.

Scripture calls husbands to take spiritual authority in the family but it also calls them to honour and respect their wives. God calls us to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (see Eph. 5:21). True authority always involves humble service. If you are married look for ways today that Jesus can manifest Himself through your love for your spouse. If you not married, let Jesus, the Lover of your soul, fill you with His love and help you to lay down your life for His church. Remember, those who give receive far more, in return, than they ever give.

I think we have to be patient with ourselves, taking one step at a time. We may think we are making little progress but a glance over our shoulders at what we have achieved so far with God’s help can give us the courage to go on. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed: from that tiny beginning it eventually grows into a huge tree, but that does not happen overnight. So let us take life a day at a time, tackling each problem as it comes along and thanking God for allowing us to work for Him. God helped us to get through yesterday and He will help us again today. In the words of Blessed John Henry Newman's hymn, “Keep thou my feet, I do not ask to see the distant scene; one step enough for me.”

Lord Jesus, we thank you for choosing us to know and love You. Each day may we follow in the footsteps of energetic saints like Paul, never losing sight of the reward You have prepared for us.

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