It has been a pleasure leading you Deacons and wives on retreat and could not have picked better readings than this, right? All about marriage.
I do not know if you know the comedian Norm Macdonald’s. He was the Weekend Update comedian, but he died last week so I have been binge listening to Norm Macdonald’s jokes online. There were a few that applied to marriage, and I would like to share those with you.
The first one is a husband and wife, and they were in their bedroom late at night. Children had gone to bed and the husband is looking at himself in the mirror. He knows his wife is there and he says out loud, “Honey, when I look at myself in the mirror now, I am just not the guy that I used to be.” He says, “I look at myself in the mirror and I am overweight and fat, and I have hair growing out of my nose, out of my ears. My eyebrows are starting to get connected and there are bags under my eyes. I just look at myself and you know.” He finally says to her, “Do I have any good qualities that you can see?” She looks at him and says, “Well, your vision is perfect.”
The other one is the story about a moth. There is this moth and if you know Norm Macdonald, by the way, he is very committed to his stories. I will shorten it for you but there is this moth, and he goes in to see a podiatrist. The moth goes in to see the podiatrist and the podiatrist says, “What are you here for?” The moth says, “I am here because I am having a tough time.” He says, “I go to work every day, day in and day out and I cannot stand it.” He says, “My boss just is out to get me, doc. Everything that I do he is correcting me on. I just cannot take it. My wife, she has become this battle-ax, you know. I walk in the door, and she is ready to pound me and beat me. I get it left and right from her and my kids. I have three kids. One of them is my daughter and I don’t know, she is getting herself into these bad relationships with these boyfriends and I do not know what to do with her. My one son is just disobedient. He talks back about everything that I do. It is never enough for him. Then my other son, my third son, doc I have, to be honest, I do not even like this kid. I stopped liking him and I feel like I cannot even pretend that I like this kid. I do not know what to do with my life and I just feel like my whole life is a failure and I have had enough.” The podiatrist says to him, “That is a lot you are dealing with. I kind of feel like you should be seeing a psychiatrist though. Moth, why in the world did you come to see a podiatrist?” The moth says, “Well, the light was on.”
Pretty good huh? Norm Macdonald.
I would have used those two images of a mirror. So, husbands and wives, you see each other and are able to mirror God’s love for each other. When you look at each other, you can see what other people cannot see in each other. You ultimately reveal to each other the love of God. So, through your loving each other through good times and in bad, through sickness and in health all the days of your life, you are radiating this love and reflecting this love of married life as God’s love you have for each other. So, when you love your spouse, you become a mirror of God’s love. When you are able to love them unconditionally, even when they are struggling, when they look at you, they see a mirror of God’s love. The same thing for each other. No matter what good or difficulties are going on in your life hopefully when you look at your spouse you can see God’s love through that mirror. But your love is not only for each other, your love is really to be a mirror of God’s love for everyone. So, when I look at each and every one of you as a married couple, you mirror God’s love to me. You help me see that God is faithful. You help me see that through you loving each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health that when I look at you I realize, “Wow, if this couple, if this married couple that God has brought together can be so faithful, how faithful is God to me?” So, you become a mirror of God’s love to the entire world. When people look at you, in your married life, they see God and they see God’s love. May you always realize that and radiate each other; be that mirror of goodness for each other, see the good qualities in each other, and help each other to see the goodness in yourselves. You have a wonderful and unique way of doing that as a married couple because the two of you are joined together as one flesh. So, when you look at each other you are looking in the mirror. You are looking at God’s love within each one of you.
Sometimes when we go up to the mirror it is kind of like that older guy and we look in the mirror and all we can see is the bad, right? So, we need other people to mirror us to help us to see the good in ourselves. You as married couples have a special and unique calling to do that for each other. To help each other see God in yourselves and in your spouse but it is also for all of us as well. You as a married couple can help encourage the rest of the world to see God through the way that you love each other. Through good times and in bad, sickness and in health all the days of your lives.
The idea of the moth being attracted to the light is the same notion of your married life that ultimately helps people go to the light. We are all attracted to the light and the thing is that we are attracted to people that are loving. We are attracted to married couples in our lives that really help us see the love of God. So, realize that you are called to be the light not only for yourselves, each other but also for your children, your families, your parishes, your community. Your married love is so important in our world today because our world is so used to broken covenants. Think about the many children; fifty percent of marriages end up in divorce, that grow up in divorced homes. I have seen this over the years as a priest that, especially over these last fourteen years, you see the effects that it has on them. A lot of times people say that kids are resilient, so it does not really bother them. Kids are resilient but it is devastating to them. It is devastating to them when their image of God, being mother and father joined together for life, divorce, and separate, and fight. It is devastating to them. So, you are a light, and not only will your children be drawn to that and benefit by that, but priests are benefitting by that. People that do not know that love are benefiting from that. Children that do not know married love or committed love are benefiting from that. You become a light to the world.
It is also important that when you experience difficulties as a married couple that you go toward the light. That is what we have been doing this whole retreat with the Examen Prayer helping us realize when we have not been going toward the light and then redirecting ourselves to go towards the light to experience God’s consolation. We all need to go towards the light. The beautiful thing about you married couples is that when one of you goes toward the light . . . what happens to the other one? They are going towards the light too because you are joined together as one flesh.
First of all, I thank you for your love. Your married love and your commitment because you are a mirror of God’s love to myself and to the entire world.
Secondly, you create out of your two being together as one flesh, you create this light that other people are going to be attracted to. Other people will be attracted to you because of the love you show for each other. Your love for each other is going to lead other people to this light and ultimately to heaven. What God has joined together is not only for your benefit but for the benefit of the entire world.
Be a mirror for each other, most especially a good mirror that will help show each other the good qualities that you love about each other; always keep that first and foremost. Gratitude. If you can just express something grateful to your spouse every single day. Tell them what you see is good in them and let yourselves be a mirror for each other and to do that for the world, for your children, for the people that you know, and then ultimately to bring each other to heaven. That is your vocation to carry each other into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Focus on that light. Let yourself be attracted to Christ, drawn to Christ so that not only will you come towards the light, but you will bring everybody in this entire world towards the light through this wonderful establishment that from the beginning of creation God has made.
That a man should leave his mother and father for this reason the two shall become one flesh.
In your one flesh is the source of eternal life for each other and for the world.