Two Imperfect People Become Perfect

Once a man named Nasruddin was sitting in a cafe drinking tea with a friend and talking about life and love. “How come you never got married?” asked his friend at one point.  “Well,” said Nasruddin, “to tell you the truth, I spent my youth looking for the perfect woman.  In Cairo, I met a beautiful and intelligent woman, with eyes like dark olives, but she was unkind.  Then in Baghdad, I met a woman who was a wonderful and generous soul, but we had no interests in common. One woman after another would seem just right, but there would always be something missing.  Then one day, I met her.  She was beautiful, intelligent, generous and kind.  We had everything in common.  In fact, she was perfect.”  “Well,” said Nasruddin’s friend, “what happened? Why didn’t you marry her?” Nasruddin sipped his tea reflectively.  “Well,” he replied.  ”It’s a sad thing; seems she was looking for the perfect man.” In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that an imperfect man has no right to divorce his equally imperfect wife whom God has given him as his perfect gift.

A few years ago, there was a man whose wife became seriously ill with Alzheimer’s disease. She completely lost all of her memory and her ability to remember who she was or who anyone else was. She was in a nursing home and her husband came by to sit beside her bed and be beside her every day. One of his friends told him that he didn’t need to keep doing that because she didn’t remember who she was and she didn’t remember who he was. The man said: “I know she doesn’t remember anything, but I do. I remember who she is and I remember who I am. I am her husband for 55 years and I promised on the day of our marriage, ‘I will love and cherish you for better or worse and in sickness and health’ and I intend to do just that.”

One might say that a beautiful thing in life is a boy and a girl clasping hands and hearts on the path of marriage. Yes, it is, no doubt about it. There is a more beautiful thing in life. It is the spectacle of an old man and an old woman finishing their journey together on that path. Their hands are twisted, but still embraced; their faces are wrinkled but still radiant; their hearts are physically bowed and tired, but still strong with love and devotion for one another. Yes, there is a more beautiful thing than young love. They are the people who were imperfect but are becoming perfect day by day. Many of our Catholic families, by their commitment to sacramental marriage, lived a happily married life. They are: ‘Two imperfect people becoming perfect’ and they cherished God’s gift to each other. I wish that all our catholic families persevere in their marriage commitment.



In the Service of the Lord,
   Father Thainese Alphonse



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St. Bernadette Catholic Church