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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

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St. Norbert

Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17
Psalm 25
Mark 12:18-27

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i'm dying to be married

"When people rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but live like angels in heaven." —Mark 12:25

Once while attending a men's retreat, the above passage was read for the Gospel during Mass. As the priest proclaimed that people do not marry in heaven, a man near me, who had been married nearly forty years, exclaimed, "Thank God!" Of course, this remark elicited a few chuckles among the nearby men.

Tomorrow's readings focus on the beauty of love and marriage, but today's readings focus on death and marriage. An insult from his wife, who was merely responding to his own unjust accusation (Tb 2:14), drove Tobit to the brink of death (Tb 3:6). Sarah had seven husbands die on seven wedding nights (Tb 3:8). In today's Gospel, the Sadducees illustrate marriage using a series of failures and deaths (Mk 12:19ff).

A marriage full of life takes two "dead" people. Each spouse has died to themselves (Jn 12:24). They carry around in their bodies the dying of Jesus so the life of Jesus may be revealed in them (2 Cor 4:10). In dying so completely to self, each spouse learns their true identity (Mt 10:39) and becomes fully alive. The husband empties himself of his desires and sacrifices his life out of love for his wife (Eph 5:25). The wife subordinates herself to her husband, ordering her life around his plans (Col 3:18). This mutual dying to self opens the floodgates of love.

Too many Christian marriages are "among the living dead" (1 Jn 3:14). Marriages often die because one or both spouses couldn't "die." Die to yourself; live and love abundantly (Jn 10:10).

Prayer:  Father, we offer You our lives.

Promise:  "He is the God of the living, not of the dead." —Mk 12:27

Praise:  St. Norbert was thrown from his horse during a personal experience of Jesus. Through this encounter with Christ, he was converted from a worldly man to a holy religious.

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

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 22, 2007

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