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4th Sunday 2024

Today’s homily may not be pleasant, you will certainly remember it because it will be very blunt, concrete, and clear in its message. I will tell it in two realities – that of priests and that of spouses.  This bluntness will involve relying solely on the Bible.  Even more so, because we heard in the first reading: ” The man who does not listen to my words spoken in my name, shall be held answerable to me for it. But the prophet who presumes to say in my name      a thing I have not commanded him to say, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”  You know, I do not want to die, so I will tell you what God leaves us in his word.   Why? Because to quote St Paul: ” I would like     to see you free from all worry.” It is he who, in his letter to the Corinthians, points today’s direction – celibacy and marriage. In order not to stand on the ambo and throw words to the wind, I will start with the priests. What demands does God place on priests? Teach the Gospel; celebrate the Eucharist in remembrance of Jesus; forgive sins; serve  the people; be faithful to the priesthood, should be blameless, sensible, decent, hospitable, self-controlled, not quarrelsome, not greedy for  a penny, not hypocritical, not abusing alcohol, having a clear conscience; just, pious, reserved, faithful to the teachings of Christ.  I would like to take such a list of following Christ at the end of my priestly life and say that I have fulfilled it one hundred per cent, I would then die with great joy and peace. The whole life of priests is about striving for perfection, becoming a disciple of Christ. The author of the letter to the Hebrews mentions; “Every priest is taken from among men and appointed to be their representative before God.”    You will meet different priests on your life’s journey: a sensational confessor, an infuriating priest and one with whom you get along – but always remember that you are in contact with someone who perhaps needs your kind word, your gentleness, your correction.Together we form the Church of Jesus Christ, together we are to move towards salvation.

You come very often with great problems to the confessional but remember that we also kneel in the confessional.A priest is supposed to be a role model, he will become one when he himself takes care of his interior,   will be able to accept positive and negative comments, will draw conclusions for his life, continuously develop himself spiritually and intellectually, and will be supported spiritually by  the people belonging to his parish. I desire my priestly holiness; do you desire in the same way   this holiness of mine as a priest?       I pray for you every day; do you pray for me?     What does God’s care for marriage look like?     The unity of man and woman: “a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and they become one flesh.” respect in marriage: “Let each of you love his wife as himself, and let a wife respect her husband.” the indissolubility of marriage:” what God has joined let no one separate.”      

Love between two people is a huge gift that is very brittle. Only proper care of this gift allows love to last at the right level.   It is the same with the feeling of love as it is with faith – it cannot be described, materialised, comprehended by reason one hundred per cent. The time of being together is a moment of building LOVE. A feeling that allows you to weather the biggest storms. Building feelings of love is building your future.

The word ‘love’ is meant to express me – even, or perhaps especially, as a man! Affection allows dear gentlemen respect for woman.  Have you had five, twelve, seventeen, fifty years   of marriage? Don’t get in a rut. Tell your wife that you love her, even though you have already told her so on your wedding day. Give him a break when he gets back from work to spend some time alone. Don’t avoid your wife, just be with her. Don’t wait  for your husband to figure something out, because he won’t, he’s a man, not a woman. Reawaken what was in you at the beginning when you stood before the altar. Nurture a love that will lift you up, not overwhelm you. Create a beautiful home, family, marriage together. Be supportive of each other,  be honest, faithful, respectful… until death.