This is a transcript based on one of Fr. Larry Richards’ Homilies,
which you can listen to here.
We are particularly blessed when God looks at us today, and begins with the first time He says something is not good, right?
He tells us what is good.
He created the heavens, it’s good, man, and he’s good, the animals, good. Everything’s good. When He creates woman, He says it’s very good, but right before that, He says, it’s not right, or not good, that the man should be alone.
So then, He forms woman for him. And the great thing about this is that God does it for us, because now again, I’ve talked about before, the man wasn’t truly alone. He had animals there, and we love our animals, but animals aren’t enough, as much as some of us want to make them enough. They just aren’t.
And God was there, but God was an incorporeal being.
He didn’t become a corporeal being until the Incarnation, when God became a man in Jesus Christ. So, He was spirit. So, we know that Adam needed someone like him, and yet that would complete him. And that’s why men and women physically fit together. They complete one another.
Men and women are different.
Some people don’t want us to be different, but ladies, men, we are different. Trust me. Very different. I work with all women at the parish.
But the reality is, we need this difference, right? We come and complete one another. That’s the point, that God made us this way on purpose, and so, what we’ve got to do, is we’ve got to rejoice in that, and know that this is of God.
Marriage: It’s Not Good for Man to be Alone
And, when it comes to marriage, because that what it goes into, that this is what marriage is about. And the Church from the beginning has talked about the beauty of marriage, the wonderfulness of marriage.
Nowadays, people want to fight about marriage, and fight about it in the Church. And again, we demonize those who don’t agree with us, and we make them evil, and, really? Is that what God’s calling us to do with this beautiful thing?
This beautiful gift of marriage, that God has given us, He gives it to us for us.
So, when we get married, ideally, you get married until when? To death, till you’re dead.
When I do weddings, I always say, “You know what is happening here, in front of everybody.” I look at the girl, and I say, “Isn’t this great she’s here today, but you do realize that this girl here is going to die?”
And everybody looks like, huh? Yep, she’s going to die right here. And then, because she’s going to look at her husband and say, “I love you so much, that I this day before God, before the crazy priest and before this community give up my life for you.” And, bam, she dies.
And then the guy looks at her and says, “I love you so much that I, this day, before God and before the crazy priest and before this community, give up my life for you.” And he dies.
And then God takes these two dead people, and He resurrects them, and he makes them one flesh.
So, I says, “You can never look at one another and say, ‘Oh, I don’t think I love you anymore, sorry.’ You’re dead. You gave your life for me.”
That’s what happens, huh? And that’s the call, and so marriage, of course, is between a man and a woman.
You’ve got to get married in the teaching of the Church.
A lot of young kids don’t hear this anymore, because we never preach about it. But, for a person to be married who is Catholic, you must be married in a Catholic church, correct?
If you get married by a JP, or you go down to the Protestant church, you’re considered an invalid wedding.
You need a dispensation for that.
The Challenges in Life
But life is messy. Have you found out, life can be messy?
My life definitely was messy. My mom got married at 17 years old. She got married outside the Catholic Church, which was an invalid thing. And she married my father, who was not a Catholic.
But then, my father found out that when they got pregnant with me, that if they were not married when I was born, in the Catholic Church in these days, you know, in the ’60s, way back before Vatican II, I would be considered … You know that word, it begins with a “b” and ends with a “d”, “d-ard”, “B-ard,” whatever.
Now some of you think I am, no matter what. But the reality was, that, if you were married outside the Church, a kid born was illegitimate.
And, in those days, you could not be a priest, either, if you were from a illegitimate union. And so, they changed that rule. You had to get a dispensation.
So my father, out of love for his unborn child, went and got married to my mother in the Church, and had the marriage blessed.
But that wasn’t even enough, right? Because my mother has been married three times, and my father was married twice.
So, what do we do with the messiness of life?
Because it’s very messy.
Now, we can throw people under the bus, and say, “The rules are the rules, do it or go to hell.”
Well, that really works, doesn’t it? You know, because, again, when I was at prep and I told my prep kids, “You’ve got to do this, or you’re going to hell,” they’d all say to me, “That’s okay, all my friends will be there.”
But, hell is really the ultimate aloneness, where ultimately, we’re alone forever.
And so, we always want to speak truth, and we always want to tell people what the plan of God is for their life. But, in the messiness of this… what do we say?
The Incarnation: It’s Not Good for Man to Be Alone
When God said, “It’s not good for man to be alone,” He went beyond the messiness of husbands and wives. And He says, “You know what? I don’t want man to be alone. So, I will become one of you. I will take on flesh, with you, I will walk with you, I will be with you.”
And then, in the second reading you hear it clearly, that, by the grace of God, He tasted death for everyone. Why? So, that which we are most afraid of, He says, “I’ll do it first. I’ll die there. I’ll die for your messiness.”
So, the God of the universe doesn’t judge the messiness until the end.
He fixes the messiness by dying for it.
He dies for our sin, because He doesn’t want us to be separated from him forever. And then, so He even goes into death, and says, “I am with you in death. I am with you throughout your life. It’s not good for you to be alone. I will be with you, physically.”
And He still does it today, in the most blessed sacrament, when we receive Communion today.
“I am with you, physically. I am in you.”
That this greatness comes for God, and what we do is, you know, again, some people like to just judge people who aren’t living the life they’re called to be in. Again, I could do it, we can all do it, and we’ll all feel great about ourselves.
But that ain’t what Jesus did. Remember the woman, at the well? And He says, “And go get your husband.” Right? And she says, “I don’t have a husband.” “Yeah, you’re right there. You’ve had seven, now, whatever, the one you’re living with now isn’t your husband either.”
Did he say, “Now, listen, you are going to hell?” He didn’t say that. He loved her, and you see, this is the point.
That’s the way it has to work. But, too many people just want to throw the rules at their neighbors, just want to throw the Commandments.
They don’t want to throw Jesus.
And that’s why the world’s a mess.
Because people are trying to live these rules, without knowing Jesus.
We do know that we can’t do that. Everything we do within holiness is done by what? Grace. It’s done with Jesus.
Because when people are trying to do things apart from Jesus, it’s not working. We need to preach the gospel, the fullness of truth. But the fullness of truth is, God is love, and that he loves us, and that he died for us.
And, when someone gets that, then they’ll do everything else.
So, today, let’s know where God’s calling us to.
Know that he’s given us this great gift, for our good, and when people’s lives get messy, let’s not just throw rocks at them.
But let’s preach to them the gospel.
To walk with them, to pray with them, so that they would all come to know the love of Jesus, and they may live His will.
You got it?
For more from Fr. Richards, consider his talk on Discerning God’s Will.