Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you though I often forget to exercise my faith. I trust in you, though I often lose my peace over little matters. I love you, though I miss so many opportunities to exercise my love throughout the day because I get wrapped up in myself. I am so grateful to realize that you smile on me in my weakness and misery and only desire the good for me in return.
Petition: Lord, help me to be faithful in my marriage.
1. “They Have No Wine.” The words of the Blessed Mother — “they have no wine” (see John 2:3) — have a relevance that is as permanent as it is poignant. The wedding feast ran out of wine for the same reasons as many marriages do: lack of awareness, a failure to anticipate needs, taking things for granted. Few events manifest the “lack of wine” more profoundly than adultery. We cannot know all the circumstances surrounding the act of adultery of the woman in today’s Gospel reading. Perhaps she was “more sinned against than sinning.” But whatever emotional pain, neglect or temptation brought her down, Jesus’ formula is simple: “Go and from now on do not sin anymore.” Easier said than done for a marriage now beyond repair? Jesus isn’t just a therapist. He is God. Remember that he turned water into wine.
2. The Blessing of Accountability: The woman probably felt dead already, filled with terror as she was led through the streets to the taunts and whistling of bystanders. We feel compassion for her, precisely because we know that we, too, are sinners. Jesus’ mercy towards her inspires us, because love stirs our hearts at a far deeper level than fear. But we also know that, as disagreeably self-righteous as those elders were, getting caught was a good thing for the woman. Through it, she was able to experience the mercy of Christ and have another chance. Marriages don’t thrive when there are dark corners and hidden places that are off-limits to one’s spouse. Accountability and transparency, on the other hand, continually engender that most precious of marital virtues: trust. The daily and consistent effort to be accountable, to embrace “mutual submission” (Cf. Ephesians 5:21), and constantly to make “trust deposits” in the love bank account are the best insurance against marital shipwreck.
3. Second Chances: “Go and from now on do not sin any more”: words both stirring and challenging. What happened after that? That’s a complicated question because second chances in marriage involve two people. Having received a vocation to become “one flesh,” both spouses need to embrace the need to accept God’s grace, accept responsibility, forgive, and work together to overcome whatever wound has been inflicted on their relationship. This mutual work can only begin with oneself. That’s why Jesus says, “Do not sin anymore.” In fact, changing one’s own heart, centering it on God and then striving to be the best husband or wife one can be, is frequently the best way to stir things up positively for the relationship as a whole. Jesus is all about second chances. When two people stand before the altar to pledge their love, it is indissoluble. But that’s not only about the bond between them. It’s also the bond between them and Christ. “Do whatever he tells you!”
Conversation with Christ: Lord, you know how many tests and temptations we are subject to. Give us strength! Don’t allow the corrosive effects of time to wear down our relationships. Help us to be faithful to each other and to you.
Resolution: I will make a special spiritual sacrifice today for my marriage (or for the faithfulness of married couples if I am unmarried.)