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Marriage is a gift to be defended and cherished

The first reading and the Gospel this weekend are about marriage.  The true definition of marriage – even among some Catholics – has been willingly compromised.  Though there are different ideas about the definition of marriage in secular culture, there should not be among us Christians.  It is rather simple: God is the author of marriage, not man.  Therefore, God defines what marriage is, not us.
 
There are many choices we can make using our freedom.  We can mostly decide the course of our lives, who our friends are, the places we live, the education we seek, and the careers we choose.  As free human beings we can choose to build nations and whole civilizations.  We can make the choice to travel to the moon or beyond.
 
But there are some things we do not get to decide because God decides them.  We don’t get to decide what is good and what is evil (Adam and Eve tried that).  We don’t get to decide whether the laws of physics apply to us or not (ask anyone who has fallen from a ladder).  And, to the point, we do not get to decide the definition of marriage.
 
We humans have a propensity to push aside what is actually true and substitute what we would like to be true.  We do this with a few things: the intrinsic dignity of the lives of the unborn, the imperative to care for those in need, and the plain and clear teachings of our Lord such as the Gospel this weekend concerning marriage.
 
In his landmark encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” (“The Splendor of the Truth”), St. Pope John Paul warned us not to give in to a claim of sincerity rather than a claim to truth.  Should I cheat because I sincerely feel like it is OK to be dishonest?  If I sincerely believe the sky is yellow and not blue, does it make the sky yellow?  If I sincerely think I should harm another person without cause, am I justified in doing so?  Of course not. And yet a claim to sincerity rather than to the truth is often the argument made to allow divorce and remarriage or redefining the definition of marriage to be between persons of the same gender.
 
Marriage was created by God to be a freely made commitment between one man and one woman for the rest of their lives.  Of all the teachings of our Lord, this is one of the most clear and defined by him, and yet because of the hardness of our hearts under the guise of a claim to sincerity, many attempt to compromise it.
 
The gift of marriage is something to be defended, cherished, and celebrated by us, and in doing so we will strengthen this gift among us and for future generations.  Whenever one of God’s truths is under assault, we must make the effort to reaffirm it, so more people may be open to the goodness which always flows from the truth.
 
Father John Broheimer is the pastor of St. Peter Parish, Omaha.