“Nevertheless we urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more, and to aspire to live a tranquil life, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you.” (1 THES 4: 9-11)
“To progress even more,” is probably the daily expectation from our bosses and our teams. So often we work for better results, more sales, bringing in more clients, etc. and there is no time or energy to “progress even more” in my relationship with my spouse. Home is a place to rest and not to progress. A place to be rewarded for our hard work for our spouse and families-we believe. But, we can improve our relationship daily with small gestures filled with greater love. If our smile will be only 5 percent nicer than yesterday, how great our progress will be in one week, one month and one year?
“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Brothers and sisters, we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God–and as you are conducting yourselves–you do so even more.” (1 THES 4: 1)
There is no way to be a free, creative, and joyful gift of self (strategy no. 3) if we do not take responsibility for our lives. We called this in our Programs-ownership (even extreme ownership), being proactive instead of reactive, “conducting yourself.” We can’t “please God,” if we do not receive from Him our vocation, if we do not respect our spouses, if we do nothing to protect our marriages, limiting ourselves to bring only money. Be vigilant, conduct yourselef.
“Be vigilant at all times and pray, that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.”
“John had said to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.” (MK 6: 18-19)
Protecting marriage has a price. Sometimes the biggest one, like somebody’s life, or a smaller one, like not being popular. Protecting marriage means also helping them to understand how they can grow together and be safe in their relationship. It is so frustrating, that people can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to have a better business or a larger income but do not understand how important their relationship is. Money without a personal, happy relationship is just the smallest kind of wealth, the most limited.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us.” (1 THES 2: 8)
When we are in a relationship, when we want to be really close to our relatives and friends, we are “determined to share our very selves as well,” because the most important part in a relationship is love. The essence of love is a gift of self. Who loves gives her/himself.
“The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. (Gospel Acclamation)
“As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his Kingdom and glory.” (1 THES 2: 11-12)
We are “exhorting and encouraging” others, but they have to make their own decision. We are powerless, like God, Who came to give us love and freedom from our sins. We can decide what we want though. We give the best strategies to protect marriage love, to help them grow constantly, but without implementation, nothing will happen.
“Whoever keeps the word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfected in him.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen.” (1 TES 1: 2-4)
This is a very special way of remembering: “remembering about you in our prayers.” We not only remember people, places and actions, but we also remember the presence of God, His grace, “knowing brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen.” Our prayers become places of gratitude, “labor of love and endurance in hope.”
“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations: to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.” (IS 66: 19)
We met Our Lord, we have invited Him into our lives, to our homes and families, we love Him and we are loved. There are moments when we can “proclaim His glory among the nations”-with our relatives and coworkers, with our neighbors and strangers; our gentleness and respect, the way in which we choose to practice our faith and protect our marriages can inspire them.
“I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father, except through me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” (JN 1: 45)
The moment when we “have found Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth,” changed our lives forever. It could have been many years ago or it happened relatively recently, but it happened and we are different. Our Lord came and stayed with us. Through Him we look for God’s will, for a better relationship with our relatives and friends. Jesus helps us to love in a way we have never experienced.
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’” (MT 22: 34-36)
We can ask questions, not to understand something new and difficult, but to test somebody. We ask questions like “would you like some coffee or tea?” because we want coffee or tea or something else. You expect that your spouse will learn something from you and will do it for you next time. And we also can test by asking to prove that he/she forgot, that it was not important to her/him, that she/he only thought about herself/himself. When we ask, because we love, we reach different results.
“Teach me your paths, my God, guide me in your truth.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come.” (MT 22; 2-3)
God, Who is love, and is love, can be rejected. In love there is no space for pressure, for force and for violence. Love is based on freedom, respect and gentleness. We are invited to be with Him, to celebrate “a wedding feast for his son,” and we can “refuse to come.” Our Lady helps us to answer to God’s invitations and helps us to recognize God’s will for us.
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Gospel Acclamation)