“He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother.” (MK 6: 27-28)
It is a horrible story about hate, pangs of conscience, crime, stupid oaths, and vanity. But it is an even more terrible part of this story about the mother and daughter relationship and the damage the mother can do to her own daughter. “The girl in turn gave it to her mother” has probably more meanings than we can imagine. When we protect our relationship, we can be an amazing example for our children: what love means, how we can make our lives better, and why rituals are so important. And we hope that our children “in turn” will give it to their children.
“Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart, and yield a harvest through perseverance.” (Gospel acclamation)
“Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.” (MK 6: 7)
We spoke about it earlier, but this is always good to remember about being “sent out two by two.” Every marriage has some blueprint in their vocation—being called by two. Our Lord sent the Twelve, but every couple somehow participates in this mission because their marriage identity connects them with this mission being sent by two.
“The Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (MK 6: 5-6)
So sad: “He was not able to perform any mighty deed there,” because of their lack of faith. And the reason for their lack of faith was that they knew Him. Our Lord came to His “native place.” Sometimes we can’t make our own “mighty deeds” – correct our bad habits, improve our gentleness or respect – because our own spouse, who has known us “forever,” doesn’t believe in us any longer. It happens, but when we can look at each other with the hope of a new start, when we give us a new chance, we can be amazed.
“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.” (MK 5: 43)
Our Lord didn’t ask them to remember a miracle they had experienced, or that they should be always grateful; He “said that she should be given something to eat.” This is true love, which takes care of others, thinks about everything, and remembers that we are human beings. An important part of protecting our relationship is also a necessity to remember about our human nature which needs to be protected also by proper nutrition.
“Christ took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead, ‘Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.’ Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.” (MK 5: 19-20)
Our homes and our families are the first places to “announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for us.” Our spouses and our children need to experience first the good changes in our lives, not in our colleges or in the lives of our friends. Our families are first. This is your main identity—you are a husband, you are a wife, together you are parents. First things first.
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst and God has visited his people.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” (LK 2: 39-40)
These two sentences covered 30 years of Our Lord’s life with Mary and Joseph in their house. And from this point, every house could be a place for children “to grow and become strong, filled with wisdom.” It could be — because it comes not from the house but from the parents, and the quality of their love will guarantee a good environment for their children.
“A light of revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ The wind ceased and there was great calm.” (MK 4: 39)
We have in our lives moments of strong wind and “waves breaking over the boat,” when we can’t think clearly and we are under huge stress. Our Lord knows about it, and He wants to help. The only thing He expects is that we will ask, that we will invite Him to our difficulties and problems, to our “winds and waves.” He loves us.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” (MK 4: 31-32)
“It is like a mustard seed”–our daily ritual, very small, very simple (doesn’t means easy)—twenty minutes every day; good quality time, just for us, about us, to learn from each other, to love each other, to be together. “When it is sown in the ground”— our marriage, “is the smallest of all seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants.” When we protect this daily ritual, when we are faithful to our 20 minutes ritual, slowly, but consistently, we “put forth large branches,” so that our children and friends “can dwell in its shade.”
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (MK 4: 24-25)
“Take care what you hear,” because words are powerful—we can “kill” and destroy people or we can heal and strengthen them just by words. “Take care what you hear” could mean: eliminate destruction from your environment (media, messages, movies, naysayers) and invite good, inspiring people, books, programs, and friends, who will lead you to be the best gift of self, the best communicator, the best spouse, parent, and friend. “Take care what you hear.”
“A lamp to my feet is your word, a light to my path.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” (MK 4: 20)
The strategy is simple: “hear, accept and bear fruit.” Every day God speaks to us. Daily readings are like a daily portion of manna which was given daily for Israel in the desert. Every day we have a small portion of the Bible in the Mass which speaks about God’s love to us and gives us strength. Our role is to “hear the word”—read it, and read it again, trying to understand and accept the message, then implement this word into your daily routine, daily activities, “and bear fruit.” Recently we spoke about being “one in mind and purpose,” and doing ”the will of God” which means to be a free, creative, and joyful gift of self—we can hear it, accept it, and bear fruit practicing it.
“The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live for ever.” (Gospel Acclamation)