27th Ordinary Time, B
Gn 2:18-24; Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6; Heb 2:9-11; Mk 10:2-16
St. Francis of Assisi
(Scriptures included after homily)
(References to Catechism Sections at end)
Readings like ones we heard today, inspire our priests to be thankful for the gift of deacons; because it’s not easy preaching on the 5th and 6th Commandments, especially in a culture that seems to have thrown them both away. And of course we remember that those commandments have to do with fidelity, chastity and murder; and include: divorce, adultery and abortion.
So my first thought for a homily for today was to talk about St. Francis, instead, since today is his feast day, and our Pope is named after him. But then the Holy Spirit let me know, in no uncertain terms, that this subject was just too important to God, to be avoided.
So here we go . . .
And I’m going to start by telling you a little secret.
When I was a kid, and even today, I’ve always been pretty squeamish about blood or pain in other people. I guess you might say that I’ve got an overactive imagination, because even, just talking about accidents or surgeries, flips my stomach, drains my brain, and puts me on the floor. Can any of you relate?
I like to think that we feel this way because of our intense LOVE for humanity. Not to say that you can’t Love humanity without being hemophobic. But that’s just me.
So every time I come into Church, I thank God for the artist who sterilized the crucifix. And I thank God, today, that He didn’t go into any more detail about Adam’s rib.
You see, there’s something about human love that helps us to understand God. And God truly wants us to understand Him, because the more we understand God, the more we become like Him. And the more we become like God, the more His Love will prevail in the world.
And that’s a GOOD thing!
Unfortunately, not everyone wants to know God, or at least any other god than the one who they think they are. And that’s where all the problems of the world begin.
You see, God did not design man for solitude, as we heard in the Genesis reading, because God knew that man could only, truly understand Him in community and through the Love of that community. And even though, a community of guys, or a community of gals could have a huge amount of love between them, that love is still not the ultimate Love that can help them to understand God best.
The ultimate Love that can best help man and woman to know and to understand God, is the Unitive, Procreative love of Holy Matrimony. Bone of my bone. Flesh of my flesh. Bonded together in the Spiritual Unity of God’s Love. By the unmerited gift of God’s Grace the result of that married, loving, Union, is called – New Life. It’s called children, just as we are all called – Children of God.
And the new Community that’s created, through that marital Love, is called – the Family. All Learning. All Growing. All understanding through it, what it feels like to be Creator – parents, to be Sanctifier – big brother or sister and to be Redeemer – little sister or brother. To be the Lover, the Beloved and the Love between them. A Love so strong, that all hatred, jealousy, selfishness and competition between them, simply dissolves away, leaving only, beautiful, Complementarity . . . So that whatever is lacking in any individual member of that Family is made stronger, is complemented, by the others.
Together as Family, they are stronger than all of them – could have ever been, separately . . . ALL through that glorious Sacrament of Holy Matrimony!
From the second chapter of the very first Book of the Bible, to the closing chapters of it’s last Book, God describes the indissoluble union of: Husband and Wife; of Christ and His Bride our Church; and of our ultimate union with God, as the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
So if this is all so good, so wonderful, what is it about Marriage, that seems to get people so miffed?
Well, from all the way back to the days of Moses, to the time of Jesus, and even today, we see that it’s a pretty ‘hot button’ for many people.
And the answer to that question is pretty simple for those who understand anything about God.
Our Catechism teaches us, in the simplest terms, that the purpose of our life is to use our talents to build God’s Kingdom. That Kingdom is built through our Love for God, and for one another. And our love for one another is most beautifully and productively expressed for God – in Family.
Family is the source of Growth.
Family is the primary means of building God’s Kingdom, THE most essential part of our “Purpose in life.” Of course priests, chaste religious, and single people, all help in the building of God’s Kingdom, as well, through their teaching and evangelization.
But without Sanctified Marital Unions, and good Catholic children, we would rapidly run out of priests, religious, and Catholic singles to carry out that mission. Eventually, we would even run out of sanctified marriages, so that God’s Church would simply collapse.
And then we might wonder,
who could possibly want that to happen?
Of course we all know. Our Faith calls him Satan. Our Culture calls him Individuality and Freedom. And our moral teachings call him Greed.
His means to an end, is Isolation.
His motto is: Divide and conquer.
And his end is Eternal Death, which in reality is Eternal separation from God, or what we call – hell.
And what might be his easiest way of accomplishing that end?
We call it divorce.
It’s a simple word.
But if we were to try to picture what it looks like, we might envision two beautifully majestic, towering glass buildings – into which airliners, filled with people, are flown . . .
That’s the ‘D’ word.
And that’s a BAD thing!
And our hearts go out to all who have ever had to suffer that tragedy in their lives, and especially the children involved.
And yet, we (as a society) seem to cry for it, like a child wanting candy!
“Oh, but he or she is so much better.”
“Oh, but I don’t like her cooking.”
“Oh, but I don’t like his snoring.”
Oh, but what about that VOW?
Remember the Promise? All, those words
– about loving and honoring;
– about good times and bad,
– about sickness and health;
– about all the days of our life;
. . . until death do we part.
Remember the “I do.“
“Oh, but we’ll just cut that part out.”
What if God promised Noah that he would absolutely not die in that flood; and then a week later, we overhear God saying, “Oh shoot, I forgot about Noah!”
What if God promised Abraham that he would have as many descendants as the stars in the sky; and then a week later came back and said, “Oh dang, you’re too old to have kids anyway.”
What if Jesus came back from death, only to tell his disciples “to take a hike,” since they all deserted Him?
But you know what, brothers and sisters in Christ, that’s something that our loving God would NEVER, ever do!
Jesus said, a promise is a promise.
You see, we can bend all the definitions of marriage and divorce.
We can justify adultery and fornication, by allowing the murder of God’s innocent, unborn children, under the ruse that they’re not humans, but tissue.
And we can fill our minds and our hearts with all the lust and greed that our senses can take in.
But in the end, we’re just selling our souls to Satan,
because a sin is a sin, and a vow is a vow.
And yet, through it all, God, our loving Father is always there; waiting with open arms for us to change; because WE are HIS Children, and that Family bond of Love is indissoluble.
And through it all, Jesus is still our Brother, and our Savior, and our Redeemer; The one who was bathed in His own blood – to keep a promise!
And through it all, the Holy Spirit is our encouragement.
He is our strength and our Sanctifier.
There is truly something incredibly
AWESOME about our God!
So, stand firm in your faith, brothers and sisters.
And pray always, for one another, and for our world:
that God’s will be done.
Link to Catechism Section on Holy Matrimony
Link to Catechism Section on Sixth Commandment
Link to Catechism Section on Fifth Commandment
Scripture Readings for the Mass of 10-04-15
27th Sunday Ordinary Time B
First Reading: Gn 2:18-24
The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.
So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; your children like olive plants around your table.
Behold, thus is the man 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!
Second Reading: Heb 2:9-11
Brothers and sisters: He “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”
Gospel: Mk 10:2-16
The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied, “Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh.’ Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.
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