Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 6:19-23; Luke 12:49-53)
Sex scandals at high levels this summer provoked a controversy regarding marriage. After the revelations of extramarital affairs involving a U.S. senator and the governor of a southern state, people have asked what marriage is for. Is its purpose the personal fulfilment of the individuals involved? Or, more traditionally, is it the procreation and education of children? With its tellingly high divorce rate, American society seems to want individual satisfaction from marriage most of all. The Church teaches differently. She says that along with the mutual sanctification of the couple in love, marriage is about bringing up children who will glorify God and benefit society.
In the first reading today, St. Paul asks his Roman Christian readers a similar question. He notes that previously they followed the licentious customs of the society around them. What good did that do for you? Paul asks. In other words, he wants to know if the fleeting pleasure of promiscuity is worth the cost of death which he rightly associates with sin. Until Christ some might have rationalized that, yes, it was worth it. But with Jesus’ resurrection from the dead another answer is in order. Now that we will gain eternal life by associating ourselves with Christ, we want to reject sin and to put our faith in him.