Chapter One is a meditation on the 128th Psalm. We’ve covered it here in the wedding series. The Holy Father will devote considerably more in his commentary. This will span most of the chapter titled “In the Light of the Word” and take us to paragraph #30. As always, I recommend reading the actual document Amoris Laetitia.
Let’s waste no further keystrokes before diving in:
8. The Bible is full of families, births, love
stories and family crises. This is true from its very first page, with the appearance of Adam and Eve’s family with all its burden of violence but also its enduring strength (cf. Gen 4) to its very last page, where we behold the wedding feast of the Bride and the Lamb (Rev 21:2, 9). Jesus’ description of the two houses, one built on rock and the other on sand (cf. Mt 7:24-27), symbolizes any number of family situations shaped by the exercise of their members’ freedom, for, as the poet says, “every home is a lampstand”.(Jorge Luis Borges, “Calle Desconocida”, in Fervor de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, 2011, 23.)
I was struck by the beginning-to-end reminder I had never realized before reading this.
Let us now enter one of those houses, led by the Psalmist with a song that even today resounds in both Jewish and Christian wedding liturgies:
“Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labour of your hands;
you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
round your table.
Thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.
The Lord bless you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life!
May you see your children’s children!
Peace be upon Israel!” (Ps 128:1-6).
As a pastoral minister, I appreciate seeing myself entering a house in order to encounter a marriage and family. That is certainly the most usual place a person would encounter my family of three. No matter how troubled a family might be, most all have homes. The encounter presumes we are treading on important ground. Private, perhaps. But also sacred. Sacred to God in that the Scriptures recognize the family from beginning to end. And that is a point of respect, don’t you think?