The cycle is a constant reminder to us that every end is a beginning.In and through our liturgical seasons we mark our journey with the great events that constitute the Christian Mystery.
How often is the full meaning of chastity declared to the married as it is to the single? The married should be reminded that they get to have sex, but only in a completely self-giving way that will produce children—probably more than they originally planned on, or think they can afford. You did what you had to do to “grow the church.” This represented a toxic combination of the mainstream belief in the church as a gathered community, Evangelical pragmatism, and ecclesial commercialism, the victims of which were people who didn’t provide enough “market share.” Catholic priests are not so crass, yet it must be difficult not to bend your preaching and your programs to the majority of your parishioners and to say what they want to hear.
Preach a homily about the wonders of marriage and people respond happily; preach one about being single and only the single people say anything; preach one on the requirements of marriage, particularly being open to life, and people get angry.
How many of those sermons on marriage really challenge married people at the point it will hurt?
In Catholic churches, how often does a priest say that, in addition to being a call and a blessing, marriage is also a duty, and that one of those duties is to be open to life? When I was an Episcopalian, I heard an Episcopal minister, pastor of a successful suburban parish, tell a group that they ought to preach on the family and push family programs because parents with children were their “target demographic.” He mentioned that this would alienate other people, but he didn’t care.
As Christians, we know that all time is a gift, given by God.