‘Be salty’, Bishop tells couples

Couples joined hands while recommitting themselves to their marriage at the Feb. 9 co-diocesan World Marriage Day Mass. (Megan Marley?Key photo)

By Megan Marley

It’s not everyday that a bishop tells you to ‘be salty’, but it definitely fit the Sunday readings heard at the Mass for World Marriage Day celebrated Feb. 9 at Church of the Ascension in Overland Park.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Ks. was celebrant of the co-diocesan Mass, while Bishop James Johnston, Jr. of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph gave the homily.

Bishop Johnston said there were three things for married couples and families to be like from Sunday’s Gospel, taken from Matthew 5:13-16: salt, light, and a city set on a hill.

“Salt preserves and purifies what is good, but it can also prevent and inhibit what is bad,” he said.

“As the domestic church, families can certainly preserve what is good in the lives of children—things like innocence in kids…piety…those good things that are natural to your kids,” Johnston continued. “Families can also serve as inhibitors to some of the corrosive things that are present in our culture today—the self-centeredness, the materialism, the relativism, the pleasure seeking. These are the things the salt of family life needs to inhibit.”

He also noted the effects of divorce, contraception and redefining marriage as something other than between one man and one woman on the culture, and how we are to serve as a witness in the world.

“Let’s be salty! That’s what Jesus is telling us today, as Christians…the world needs our salt.”

Light, said the bishop, is needed for seeing—and families serve to enlighten society with their example following Christ, the Light of the World, to know the true and good and beautiful.

“’The saints are the ones who let the light shine through,’” he quoted, recalling a story of a little girl’s description of saints in a church’s stained glass.

“The saints were the figure in the window through which the sunlight passed, but also in their lives they allowed the light of Christ to pass through them—this is the vocation we have, that every family has. Couples in particular reveal the love of Christ for his bride, the Church through their sacrificial love for each other and their children.”

A city on a hill served as a navigational landmark in biblical times, explained Johnston, since it could be seen from far distances. Similarly, the family serves as the navigational guide of a nation.

“The world needs the Church: the Church universal, but also the domestic church of each of your families. When there is not city on a hill, people lose their way,” he said. “Each family is that city on a hill for their children, and for other families…we help one another, we need each other to navigate by, especially when we’re confused or discouraged.”

Sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), World Marriage Day is a time to honor husband and wife as the family’s foundation, and to recognize their sacrifice, faithfulness and joy in married life. WWME offers weekends for married Christian couples to step aside from the distractions of everyday life to deepen their relationship and communication, and learn tools to make and keep their marriage strong.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter is one of many marriage initiatives promoted by the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life. Others include:

School of Love—offers a variety of events, formation programs and materials for engaged or married couples and families to grow together in prayer, learning the faith, and relationally. One popular free event is ‘Date Night’: apps, happy hour and a talk on faith, marriage and family before couples finish the date on their own.

The Choice Wine—a nine-week interactive multimedia program hosted by parishes that integrates modern science with Faith teachings and wisdom from the saints to enrich couples’ interior and family lives. The program is produced by Paradisius Dei, creators of ‘That Man is You!’, and is available at no charge to parishes.

Retrovaille—a three-phase program (retreat, follow up sessions and monthly support group) designed to help husbands and wives re-establish communication and gain insight into themselves and their marital problems. Its focus is on couples in troubled marriages, including those who are separated or divorced.

Light-Life—a movement founded by Servant of God Fr. Franciszeck Blachnicki with support from his bishop, Karol Wojtyla (later Pope St. John Paul II) to provide a foundation in the Catholic faith. Couples are invited to commit to live out promises in their lives: daily prayer as an individual, couple, and family; daily scripture study; monthly couple dialogue; a rule of life; and a yearly retreat.

For a full list of marriage and family life resources, visit kcsjfamily.org.


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October 22, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph