2012-10-07, 27th B, The Bridegroom

Homily 10-07-12
Twenty Seventh Sunday Ord, B
Gn 2:18-24;  Ps 128:1-6; Heb 2:9-11; Mk 10:2-16

(Scriptures included after homily)

As Catholics, we believe and know from the Old and New Testament Scriptures,
from the Words of Jesus Himself, from the writings of the early Church fathers,
like St. Paul, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, from our Catechism and
even in the prayers of our Mass, that Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom of His Church;
and that we, as that Church, are His Bride.

Now, some of us have been in this nuptial relationship with Jesus
for many, many years, while others may just be newlyweds.
So how did we get here and what does it mean?

Well, at the start, and together with Jesus, we cleansed our bodies and souls from all of its contaminating sin, by burying it in the water of Baptism.  Through that initiating Sacrament, we emerged as a whole new creation.  And in it we were cleansed, anointed, clothed in a white, wedding garment as Christ’s Bride, and enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

And we became one with Jesus and His Church.

Then as we grew in our enlightenment and strength of faith, we came to recognize Jesus in our actions toward others and theirs toward us.  We recognized something missing in those who had fallen away, or had never known Him as we do.

And we saw Him in the faces of the poor, and the lonely, and the bereaved.  We saw him in the faces of the children – O the beautiful children!

We discovered Jesus, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament
(the Eucharist), to nourish us, and bring us the Fullness of Life.

Like the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, we received the strength
of the Holy Spirit, as we were sealed with the Chrism oil of our Confirmations.

And we discovered the walking-on-air feeling of forgiveness that Jesus offers us,
in our constantly available Sacrament of Reconciliation.

O, How very blessed we are!

And if we truly kept our eyes open, and listened with receptive minds and hearts,
as we read the Scriptures, or met in our prayer groups, or just came to
participate in the Sunday Mass, we would have discovered that there has been
ONE underlying string of connection since the very beginning of time.

From the opening words of the Book of Genesis, to the birth
of our own great, grandchildren, we learned and came to know in our hearts that
ALL of LIFE is indescribably precious in the eyes of God.

So we then, as this Bride of Christ, as one in flesh and spirit with Jesus, we have the honor, the privilege, the right and the duty, to respect, defend and enlighten ‘a world in darkness’, about this incredible treasure.  The treasure that’s right before their very eyes – LIFE!

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is enlightening those religious leaders of His day, about
a moral weakness that had developed in their culture.  It’s one of those things that cycles with time, as cultures fall away from God and spiral into self-absorption and depravity of true Life.  You see, Jesus taught them that divorce, and really anything that breaks apart our communion with one another, is not what God had planned or desired for our well being.

Separation in marriage, or families, or nations, or races, ages, or cultures, or religions,
and especially separation from communion with God, is the product of that
same entity who offered a forbidden apple to Eve, with a lie.
Ever purchase a lie?  It usually hurts.

You see, Satan knows that breaking apart communities, leads to individuals without a support system.  And without a support system, we find, that when we’re confronted with difficulties or failures, our lives can
quickly spiral into despair, hopelessness and even death.

So whenever we experience discord, breakdowns, breakups, wars and conflict, we can be sure of who’s got the upper hand in our lives, Satan.  You see, those are precisely his goals.  And it’s exactly then, that we need to go back to our Bridegroom, Jesus.  That’s when we need our support system.

In the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, God said that the union of man and woman creates ONE FLESH.  Jesus knew well, that when ‘one flesh’ is broken, it hurts, and it can even kill.  Yet, even though disagreements and incompatibilities may crop up in a marriage, there is also an indescribable complimentarity between husbands and wives that God has built into every marriage union.

If instead of seeking self-satisfaction in our marriages, we strive to discover that built in complementarity, what we’ll find, is that it has the power to overcome all incompatibilities and disagreements.  And what will be left, will be something even more beautiful than either the husband or the wife are, individually.  What we’ll discover is TRUE LIFE.

In the Catholic marriage, the couple makes a promise or a vow to be true to one another
in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love and honor each other all the days of their lives.

They promise that through it all, and especially in those struggles when: ‘he lied, or she cheated, or a job was lost, or the doctor says, it’s measles, or chickenpox, or cancer; when the boy runs away from home, or the girl gets pregnant too early; when the heater breaks, or the car gets wrecked,’ they promise that through it all, those words must persist,
“I still love you sweetheart…”  But it’s not always easy!

You see, it might be near impossible to accomplish that difficult a task without the help
of our Bridegroom, without Jesus in our marriages and our lives.

So, whether we’re married or single, or 90 or 5 years old, if we’ve been Baptized as the Bride of Christ, then we, in our complimentarity with Jesus, have the ability to SEE,
to truly see – LIFE, just as God does – Magnificent, from the very first spark of conception, until the last straining breath of mortality.

And we always know, beloved, as Catholic Christians, that from that last spark of mortality, to the eternal banquet of Heaven, we are and always will be – ONE,
together in LIFE with Jesus, our Bridegroom.

 jmp 10-07-12


Scripture Readings for the Mass of 10-07-12
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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