This Sunday’s readings seem to have one strong theme in common; they all invite us to a commitment. In the first reading Joshua, at the end of the long journey through the desert from Egypt to the promised land, once again asks the people of Israel whether they were ready to accept God’s covenant and commit themselves as faithful followers of God and his commandments. The people of Israel accept to honour this commitment, even though we know that very often, during their Old Testament journey, they failed in this promise. The story of the people of God reflects our own life journey, we too often promise to be faithful, and yet we need to humbly admit our sinfulness.
In the gospel reading many of Jesus’ disciples turn away from him as they find his teaching difficult to accept. Jesus turns around to the twelve, those closest to him, and ask them too: ‘What are you going to do? Are you going to go away too?’ Jesus was not afraid of losing even those closest to him, being a Christian is based on a decision to follow Jesus, whatever the cost. Peter answers in the name of the twelve: ‘To whom shall we go?’ What about us? Do we too remain faithful to our commitment?
Paul talks to the Ephesians about the commitment of a husband towards his wife in marriage. This is not a matter of who has priority in the family but an insistence on the deep relationship that needs to exist between husband and wife. This commitment reflects the commitment of Christ, the spouse, towards the Church, his wife. When the husband loves his wife, he is actually loving his own self, because in marriage they are one body. When Jesus loves the Church, he too is loving himself, as the Church is the body of Christ, and Christ is the head.
The Servant of God Joseph De Piro has two homilies talking about matrimony. In one of these he draws a parallelism between the relationship of Christ with his Church and of the husband towards his wife.
Christ’s love towards the Church
The husband towards his wife in marriage
The Church towards Christ
The wife towards the husband in marriage
Christ and his Church
The husband and his wife
(Translated by John Taliana mssp)