“Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (MT 20: 26-28)
We don’t like to be slaves. We “wish to be great among others.” But there is no other way if we want to be like Our Lord, who “did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” How happy are couples who understand this message. Where there is a fight for “my rights,” “my space” or “my privacy,” there is always the beginning of a crisis (at least). Where there is a gift of self, there is always Him and His grace and protection.
“I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here.” (MT 12: 41)
Our Lord wants us to turn to God in genuine repentance because repentance is a change of heart and mind that brings us closer to God. It is putting God in first place; it is following our vocation given by Him and loving Him and others with our whole heart. When we “hear His voice,” we know where to put our hearts.
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
“But though you are master of might, you judge with clemency, and with much lenience you govern us; for power, whenever you will, attends you.” (WIS 12: 18)
A description of Our Lord: “though you are master of might, judge with clemency, and with much lenience govern us.” He always protects, always cares, and always loves, focused on our growth, not on our falls.
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’ She thought it was the gardener and said to him, ‘Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni,’ which means Teacher.” (JN 20: 15-16)
Mary recognized Jesus when He called her by her name. Our Lord knows our names and always calls us by our names. We are not a group, a crowd or an anonymous people; we are His beloved children. Probably in every marriage spouses called themselves by “nicknames,” names which are only for them, which, apart from their meanings, carry emotions, memories and mutual love. When Jesus calls us, He calls us by our true names, which meanings probably we will fully recognize only in Heaven.
“Tell us, Mary, what did you see on the way? I saw the glory of the risen Christ, I saw his empty tomb.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.” (MT 12: 7)
Our Lord is merciful, and He expects from us that our first reaction will be looking for forgiveness and looking for a defense rather than for accusations or my rights. This is why we put in our Program a very important element—how to defend my spouse from accusations–how to protect, instead of attack. We “hear His voice,” and we follow Him, our Merciful Lord.
“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord, I know them, and they follow me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (MT 11: 28-30)
How much comfort these words bring us: “come to me, all who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” It doesn’t mean that He will totally remove any difficulties from us; on the contrary: “take my yoke upon you” and—which is so important: “learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.” Our Lord wants us to be close to Him, learn from Him, and imitate Him. With Him our “yoke is easy, and burden light.”
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.” (MT 11: 25-26)
Our Lord had His own reasons for choosing His disciples. He didn’t reveal His will to “the wise and the learned” but to “the childlike . . . such has been your gracious will.” We are close to His heart; we are His beloved children, and we are always loved—we are His “little ones.”
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented.” (MT 11: 20)
The main concern of Our Lord is to bring us back to God the Father and restore our relationship with Him broken by our sins. He expects from us that we will not only recognize our sins, but that we will also repent and follow His will. Restoring relationship and paying for this is His part.
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.” (MT 11: 1)
Our Lord’s priorities: first—“his Twelve disciples” and later—“He went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.” First is my spouse, our marriage, our children and our family; later comes my work, my surroundings, my parish, my city and my country. We need our rituals to spend time together and to know each other in depth, sharing feelings and mutually experiencing each other. Without enough time for us, there will be no effective time for others.
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Thus says the LORD: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” (IS 55: 10-11)
We should trust Him more than ourselves. Whatever He said and whatever He did, it was motivated by His love and for our good. It takes time in our lives; like it takes time for “the rain and snow [to] come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful.” It takes time, but “all who come to him will have life forever.”
“The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower. All who come to him will have life forever.” (Gospel Acclamation)