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Sunday, January 30, 2000

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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 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 detract from the short-term need to evangelize full-force.

However, Jesus did not return in Paul's lifetime. The early Church of course realized that its members needed to "make disciples" (Mt 28:19) by having and raising godly children well-trained in the faith. In this context, married persons have an integral and irreplacable 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:  Risen Jesus, You are the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Alleluia!

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 21, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1999