Read Joshua 24:1-13, Ps. 136:1-3,16-18,21-22,24, Matthew 19:3-12

“For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:5-6)

Marriage is a blessing to the human race because it creates the human family. A happy marriage creates a happy home. Children who grow up in such an environment tend to have less psychological problems. A happy marriage does more for the human race than all the medicines, surgeries, and therapies available today. If our marriages were happy, our world would be a better place to live.

Today, Jesus tells us that God designed marriage to last forever. Divorce was never part of the plan. Nowadays, many wonder if this is possible. The truth is that when there is happiness in marriage (when couples truly love each other), neither spouse will dream of ending the marriage.

In other words, God desires happy marriages; it is not to His pleasure that spouses fight or kill each other. If living together becomes life-threatening to spouses, separation is recommended so that healing can occur. After all, only the living can praise God. (Cf. Isaiah 38:18-20)

However, achieving happiness in marriage does not come by chance (or luck). It demands faithfulness from both spouses. As St Paul would say, ‘Love never ends.’ (1st Corinthians 13:8). A happy marriage is one in which both spouses love each unconditionally and are committed to each other’s well-being. A happy marriage is one the spouses forgive each other seventy times seven. It doesn't appear easy, but it is possible.

His disciples asked Jesus: “If such is the case of a man with his wife, is it not better to remain unmarried?” (Matthew 19:10). Jesus said: “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given.” (Matthew 19:11). In other words, celibacy is not for everyone. One who is not called to a celibate life but embraces it to escape the rigours of marriage would end up frustrated. Achieving a happy marriage is difficult, but being a faithful celibate is more difficult without the grace of celibacy.

In today’s First Reading, Joshua begins a long address to the children of Israel. He reminds them of what God had done for them in the past and how He has led them to their present location. If we fail to count our blessings, we may assume we have achieved success by our strength. As the saying goes, ‘Pride goes before a fall.’ Secondly, counting our blessings boosts our faith to ask for more. Thirdly, counting our blessings remind us of God’s faithfulness and the need for us to reciprocate by keeping his commandments no matter how difficult they seem.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, may I remain faithful to you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of week 19 in Ordinary Time, Bible Study: Joshua 24:1-13, Ps. 136:1-3,16-18,21-22,24, Matthew 19:3-12).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu

Nb. Pray for me as I mark my 11th priestly ordination anniversary today. God has been faithful, and I have every reason to be grateful. Pray that I may remain an instrument in God’s hand. Amen.