Editor’s note: In his homily today, Father Gerard Lessard, O.P., highlighted the Sacrament of Marriage as an image of Faith, found in the divine Bridegroom of the Church, and in today’s readings.
A real marriage between a man and a woman is a binding sacramental covenant whereby the two give totally of themselves to each other. Whatever a husband is or has, he gives to his wife, and she to him. Nothing is held back, nothing preserved for the self. That’s the kind of charitable love at the foundation of Holy Matrimony. It’s also the love that grounds our covenantal relationship with our divine Husband.
We swear to give our hearts and all our possessions to God Who in turn promises His own Kingdom and life. Our wealth, whatever pleases us, and even our free will, we surrender to our Lord. Nothing remains as an idol between Him and us. Contrasting the faithful with the unfaithful, the Psalmist says, “Our God is in Heaven; whatever He wills, He does. Their idols are silver and gold, the handiwork of men.”
Abraham passed the supreme test. He was nearly dead himself, so all his hope in the world was in his son, Isaac, yet when God told him to offer his son, he didn’t hesitate. Although Isaac was not killed, he was offered up to God because it’s the will that matters most. Abraham submitted his will in obedience to God so completely that the Lord said, “… I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the Earth shall find blessing ….”
All the faithful in every time and place are blessed because of Abraham, who is our father, whereas all the unfaithful and selfish idolaters of the world will be dispossessed and confined.
Jesus forgave and healed the paralytic: “When the crowds saw this, they were struck with awe and glorified God Who had given such authority to men.” They didn’t realize that Jesus is God. He called Himself the Son of Man, which not only means a son of Adam, but it also implies a messenger of God and perhaps the Messiah Himself. Still, even Jesus admitted to His Apostles that His authority comes from His Father, Who bestows it upon Him because He is obedient and loyal. The Lord didn’t come to do His own Will, but the Will of the One Who sent Him. Christ was faithful, but He didn’t have faith. In other words, He was loyal, but He already knew the Truth.
As the divine Bridegroom of the Church, He proved His faithfulness daily, even to the point of death. On the other hand, the selfish, unfaithful and disobedient become as deaf, dumb and blind as the things that they adore. Breaking from God to do as they wish, they lose the power that they so much crave. Now, we are obliged by our baptismal promises and other vows to maintain our side of the Covenant, giving totally of ourselves without holding anything back.
Only then would God give us the authority to do whatever we will. What we bind or loose on Earth would be bound or loosed in Heaven because we would participate in the same authority as the King. If we give all that we have, we get all that He has. If we give all that we are, we get all that He is.
The scribes were smart enough to know that only God could forgive offenses committed against Him, but even that authority He gives to his faithful Spouse.