Belinda and I have been involved with Worldwide Marriage Encounter since 1992, when we first experienced our Marriage Encounter weekend. Since then, we have participated in regular small group CORE meetings with other encountered couples and priests.
At our most recent meeting, the presenting couple shared an important message delivered by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome during his homily Oct. 7 at the opening Mass for the Synod of Bishops discussing the new evangelization. Benedict based his teaching on a key passage from the Scripture readings for the day:
The pope described the union of a married couple becoming one flesh as a sign that speaks of God today with great force and eloquence in our times.
What does this word say to us today? It seems to me that it invites us to be more aware of a reality, already well-known but not fully appreciated: that matrimony is a Gospel in itself.
Marriage is a Gospel in itself.
The word "Gospel" derives from the Old English god-spel — meaning "good news" or "glad tidings." It’s a translation of the Greek word euangelion (eu- "good"; -angelion "message"). The Greek euangelion (good news) also is the source of the word "evangelization."
A "Gospel" is commonly understood to refer to an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Married couples, living their vocation in the sacrament of matrimony, are living the Gospel.
In the vocation of marriage, a couple is a living example of a covenant relationship, reflecting the permanent, faithful and fruitful love shared between Christ and the church. In this way, their story describes the life of Jesus. Their marriage is a Gospel in itself.