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Sunday, February 1, 2009

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4th Sunday Ordinary Time

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Psalm 95
Mark 1:21-28

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"The married man is busy with this world's demands and occupied with pleasing his wife. This means he is divided." —1 Corinthians 7:33

Many of you who read One Bread, One Body are married. Today's second reading seems to imply that marriage is a limited vocation because a married person is not able to be both married and "busy with the Lord's affairs" (1 Cor 7:32).

It is important, however, to read this passage in its context. St. Paul believes that Jesus will return shortly (1 Cor 7:29, 31). If "the time is short" (1 Cor 7:29), then it is vital to commit all efforts to converting "as many as possible" (1 Cor 9:19) before Jesus returns. Long-term endeavors such as marriage and family could not meet the short-term need to evangelize full-force.

However, Jesus did not return in Paul's lifetime. The early Church then realized that its members needed to "make disciples" (Mt 28:19) by bearing and raising godly children well-trained in the faith. In this context, married persons have an integral and irreplaceable part in "the Lord's affairs." They have the unique advantage of a long-term, nurturing, loving, and discipling relationship with their children that cannot be forged by any other member of the body of Christ. Paul realized that God is so pleased by this kind of marriage that He considers it to be a reflection of His own love for the Church (Eph 5:31-32).

Prayer:  Father, may all married couples build up the body of Christ and thereby be devoted "entirely to the Lord" (1 Cor 7:35).

Promise:  "The people were spellbound by His teaching because He taught with authority, and not like the scribes." —Mk 1:22

Praise:  Praise the risen Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life (Jn 11:25), Who was in the world but not of it. Alleluia!

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008

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