John the Baptist was aware that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior of the world. John told everybody, “Pay attention to Him. He is greater than I am. Change your life—repent.”
Our culture is different compared to 2,000 years ago. However, some things never change. As humans we have a basic need to love and to be loved. One of the ways to love is in the sacrament of marriage. Unfortunately, too often, love is confused for physical attraction, common interest, or a codependency relationship. That’s one reason that teenagers should not get married, because they are too young. Takes maturity to make a life-long commitment. Countless divorces happen as a result of young marriages that really didn’t know the person they were marrying. “Shot gun” weddings still happen. If a couple gets pregnant, notice I said, a couple—takes two people to make a baby—many conclude that they have to get married. Pregnancy is not a reason for marriage. Comment usually from parents, “But we do not want the child to be a bastard.” Frankly, that is already the case at conception when the man and woman are not married. Children have nothing to do with the sin of their parents. If the couple was already planning marriage and they got pregnant, no big deal. If there was not a plan for marriage and pregnancy happens, they need to wait until the baby is born, then come talk about marriage plans. The first question asked at a wedding is: “Have you come here to enter into marriage without coercion, freely and wholeheartedly?” That means no pressure. If families will not allow their children to date a person unless they have marriage in mind, the result is that they have no experience meeting people and they marry the one and only person they ever dated. In such cases young people want to leave the oppressive situation and jump from the frying pan into the fire.
Difficult for parents to monitor their children. One of the best ways is to have regular conversations and discuss their relationships. When parents are too strict or when they are too relaxed in discipline—both extremes can be negative. However, marriage is not the band aide to fix mistakes. Some folks come after years of living together, which have been nothing but misery and think that a convalidation will fix their problems.
A convalidation is not what many call, “A Church blessing”. Rather, a convalidation is a new act of the will that confects the sacrament. All has to do with baptism. If a person is a baptized Catholic that person, if he/she wants to marry, must marry before a bishop, priest or deacon and two witnesses. That’s the form. Contrary to popular belief, a marriage in the Catholic Church does not cost anything. What cost money are all the additives. Folks can come in street clothes and we go to the chapel and in five minutes the wedding is over. When a Catholics get married outside the Church, then they excommunicate themselves. That’s rough language, but not the end of the world. There are ways to make things right. Never stay away, regardless of the circumstances. The Church is our home; no one can keep us out. Divorced people are not excommunicated because they are divorced. Folks who are divorced can come to Holy Communion. Only those who have divorced and remarried outside the Church have an issue. But don’t jump to conclusions. Declarations of invalidity can be granted when there is evidence to prove that a marriage never happened sacramentally—and the number of children has nothing to do with such a declaration. Witnesses collaborate the testimony of the Petitioner and the Respondent. The process has helped many people come back to the Church and heals the damage of a mistaken life-choice. Given the fact that 3 out of 5 marriages in the State of Texas end in divorce, we need to pray for our families.
John the Baptist gave people a chance to repent. Jesus forgave sinners. We need to forgive and be forgiven, especially in our families.