Eucharist and Marriage: God’s Covenant Love
After the Easter season, the Church celebrates a series of “theme” feasts, highlighting diverse aspects of our Catholic identity. At Pentecost, we proclaimed our identity as a Spirit-filled people, empowered to bear witness to a diversity of gifts in the one Spirit. Last Sunday, as we marked World Environment Day, we recalled that we are created in the image of the Trinity: in our lives, loves, and relationships, in our earth and cosmos, we reflect a God who is mutual, self-giving, overflowing communion of love.
This Sunday, we commemorate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. We are a Eucharistic people. In receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, we are transformed from within: we become Christ’s Body and Blood, our lives broken for others, poured out in loving service of all humanity. This is what Jesus calls the “new covenant in his blood.” God does not enter into a contract with us: a legally binding agreement in which non-performance renders the agreement null and void. God invites us to a covenant of faithful love. No matter how often we fall short of our side of the bargain, God always remains faithful. Why? Because that is who God is: faithful love. So Jesus says to us: “I am with you always, until the end of time.”
This weekend, we also celebrate this love reflected in those who have embraced covenant love with a partner through the sacrament of marriage. Without forgetting those who embrace the single life by choice or circumstance, or those whose marriages have ended in death or by divorce, we give thanks for the couples in our parish who bear witness to Christ through a love that is faithful, committed, and life-giving. We honour especially the newly-married – including Iain and Meghan Lowe, who will be testifying at our Matrimony celebration on Saturday, and those celebrating special anniversaries. Let us make our own the prayer with which Pope Francis closes his letter on the family, The Joy of Love:
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendour of true love; to you we turn with trust.
Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families also may be places of communion and prayer, and authentic schools of the Gospel. May families never experience violence, rejection and division; may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing. Make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer. Amen.