Aug 16 (Mt 19:3-12)

“Fireproof” is a 2008 Christian drama film.

It is an incredibly gripping, compelling and a transformational story about saving a marriage – of Catherine and Caleb – that had hit rock-bottom.

Catherine was a hospital administrator, married to fire captain Caleb Holt.

>> Caleb recruited young men under the dictum of never leaving one’s partner, ‘especially in a fire’.

But at home, the scenario was quite opposite; he and Catherine argued over almost everything.

>> Catherine accused Caleb of being selfish with time and money.

>> Caleb complained that Catherine was ungrateful for all he did to help others.

Both felt that the other didn’t care or appreciate each other

The constant bickering reached the high point, when Catherine demanded a divorce and an irritated Caleb agreed.

The two complained to their respective friends regarding this unpleasant phase of their life.

John, Caleb’s father convinced his son to delay the divorce proceedings in order to try “Love Dare”, a 40-day challenge for improving marriages by changing the way a spouse was treated.

Caleb’s friend Michael also persuaded Caleb to hold off on divorce and challenged the fire-captain with a bold statement:

>> “I’ve seen you run into a burning building to save people you don’t even know, but you’re going to let your own marriage burn to the ground?”

The acceptance of Christ into his life invigorated Caleb to ask God to help in defeating his demons and overcoming his addictions.

The movie proceeds, through many twists and turns, with Catherine finally realizing and acknowledging the many selfless acts done by her husband and enters into reconciliation with him.

The film ends with Caleb and Catherine renewing their wedding vows as a covenant with God.

Marriage is a sacred institution – a precious covenant – that demands a lifelong commitment and a faithful dedication, despite the ups and downs of life.

>> It is this message that is driven home by Jesus in today’s Gospel when He expounds His teaching on the sacredness of the Covenant of Marriage.

The passage begins with a testing interrogation by the Pharisees, ” Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” (Mt 19:3)

Jesus came to the world to demonstrate the magnanimity of God’s Love.

This magnanimity includes…

… His unconditional manner of loving us, irrespective of our worthiness

… His unfailing faithfulness to us, despite our many acts of betrayal and disloyalty

It is this model of God’s love that becomes the blueprint for us in loving others, and especially in a marriage relationship.

The partners, pledged in love to each other in marriage, ought to imitate the love that God has for us…

>> We have cheated and strayed away from what God wants of us…

… He still loves us and is faithful to us

>> We have, on innumerable occasions, spat at His face by our shameful deeds and defamed His name by our sinful acts…

… He still holds us close to Him and remains loyal to us

>> We have, despite many warnings, purposely hurt Him in thoughts, words and deeds and even rejected His graces by not co-operating with His Will for us…

… He still waits patiently for our return and constantly seeks to draw us to Him

We have failed Him many times, but He has always made efforts to try to win us

>> We have hurt and pained Him much, but He has still longs for us, with His soothing balm of acceptance

It is this “magnanimity of God’s Love” that becomes the basis, the inspiration and the ideal in every marriage relationship.

>> Therefore Jesus says, “What therefore God has joined, let not man put asunder” ( Mt 19: 6b)

We live in a world where the quickest solution to many problems is found in “throwing it away!”

>> And the same mentality affects human relationships too… especially to those in marriage.

The challenge therefore is to dare to swim against these worldly currents and bring in the “Jesus Culture of Faithful Commitment” in human relationships, especially of marriage.

Theoretically speaking, this sounds quite good and wonderful.

>> But when it comes down to the actual practice… in married lives… it is undoubtedly a very hard effort.

“But what is impossible for humans is possible for God” (Lk 18: 27), is the assurance of Jesus.

When the going gets really hard and we want to call it ‘quits’ in our relationships…

… let us look to Jesus who said Yes to the Will of God in the painful agony at Gethsemane

There may seem no hope ahead…

>> Still, can we say Yes to God’s Will – to be faithful and committed?

When none of our efforts of restoration work out and we get ‘fed’ up and feel to have reached the ‘limit’ in relationships…

… let us look to Jesus Crucified, who was never ‘fed’ up with our misdeeds and our constant misunderstanding and misuse of His love

It may seem that all the past was mere fantasy and the future appears to be non-existent…

>> Still, can we hold on to Hope in God – to be true to our promise and be loyal?

The promises made…

>> to our Faith in Baptism

>> to the spouse in Marriage

>> to the Lord in Consecrated and Priestly Life

… all demand an undissolved commitment and an undiluted faithfulness.

As the dialogues in the movie “Fireproof” says (in the scene where the ‘salt and pepper bottles’ are glued together):

“When two people get married, it’s for better or for worse, like these joined salt and pepper.

… For richer or for poorer.

… In sickness and in health.

If you pull them apart, you’ll break either one or both of them.

God made marriage to be for life.”

Yes, fireproof doesn’t mean that a fire will never come…

>> But it does mean, that when it comes, one will be able to withstand it!

May the Lord, the Lover of our souls be the assurance of “fireproof” in our relationships!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The effect of marital love should be an inviolable fidelity to one another.

In olden times finger-rings were wont to be graven as seals.

>> We read of it in Holy Scripture, and this explains the meaning of the marriage ceremony, when the Church, by the hand of her priest, blesses a ring, and gives it first to the man…

… in token that she sets a seal on his heart by this Sacrament, so that no thought of any other woman may ever enter therein so long as she, who now is given to him, shall live.

>> Then the bridegroom places the ring on the bride’s hand…

… so that she in her turn may know that she must never conceive any affection in her heart for any other man so long as he shall live, who is now given to her by our Lord Himself!”

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