“Burning Our Bridges”

When the sun is shining and everything is going well, it’s easy to keep a commitment. I was a great Giants fan right after they had won the Super Bowl…. I love the Yankees in the middle of their championship runs…. I was a proud to be a Catholic when Pope John Paul II was leading the charge against communism and secularism. But what about when things are not going so well?

Look at marriage. When the marriage is good…. when we have riches, when we are healthy, the kids are happy …wow, commitment is pretty easy. But what about when the marriage is not doing so well …. you lost your job, have financial problems, …. your spouse is sick, the kids are not doing well… then it’s not so easy.  What about when the “honeymoon is over”… when Mr. Perfect is not looking so perfect…Mrs. Wonderful is becoming Mrs. Crabby. What about when disappointments show up. Hmmmmmm….. not so easy.

What keeps me from backing out when things get tough? Well certainly it’s the grace of God and the grace of the sacrament….. but it’s also the strength of our commitment, of our vow, our covenant with each other. Remember the marriage vows: 

“I take you for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part.”

While maybe not as romantic or glamorous as the joy of the wedding and reception, the commitment is the barrier that prevents me from backing away from the promises I made…. it involves dedicating myself to my spouse.

There’s a number of historical incidents that coined phrases that describe making the ultimate commitment …. Caesar “crossing the Rubicon” river in 49 BC….either he conquers or he is condemned to die.  In 1519 AD, during the Spanish conquest of Mexico, Cortes, the Spanish commander, scuttled his ships, so that his men would have to conquer or die. “Crossing The Rubicon” or “Burning Your Bridges” (boats) are famous phrases signifying commitment. Of course, the ultimate sign of commitment is the “Sign of the Cross”… the ultimate commitment of Jesus Christ to our redemption from sin and death. He died on the cross so that we might be saved. So let’s burn any bridges that might lead us away from fulfilling our commitment to the Lord, to our spouse, to others we are committed to. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who have made the ultimate sacrifice to live out their commitments. With God’s grace and the witnesses that surround us, may we do the same. 

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