From the Pastor's Desk

In what ways are relationships in my life similar to the love of God for humanity? Do some relationships fail to mirror that love God has for us? Can I look at others in my life as God does?

Today’s Scripture readings are about the bond of love that marriage creates between a man and a woman, a bond that God intends to be permanent. These readings challenge the spouses to practice the fidelity of their ever-faithful God, honoring their holy covenant commitment before Him.

The first reading, taken from Genesis explains God’s original plan concerning sex and marriage. It teaches us that God made man and woman for each other. Hence, in marriage they are no longer two but one, united by an unbreakable bond. The reading also describes the institution of marriage and shows that monogamy was God’s intention from the very beginning.

The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 128) expands the marital theme of the first reading and the Gospel to include the children born of the union. Since the children enrich the lives of their parents, the Psalmist prays: “May you see your children’s children.”

The second reading, taken from the Letter to the Hebrews, reminds us that Jesus became one of us, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. As one of us, Jesus “tasted death for everyone.” He was not only the Sacrifice, but also the High Priest. We are now his brothers and sisters, bonded with him, and through him bonded with God. Thus, Christ became the brother and Savior of all people – the good and the bad, the divorced, gays, lesbians -- everyone. Jesus’ prohibition of divorce can be a source of suffering for those who face difficult married lives. Paul suggests that we have to accept pain as Jesus did, as the suffering we should endure on the way to glory. Today’s Gospel gives Christ’s explicit teaching on marriage and divorce, the Divine origin of marriage, the sacredness of family life and the indissolubility of marriage. These are difficult messages to preach in a society that embraces co-habitation and ignores both the escalating divorce statistics and the dangerous consequences of divorce. The Gospel teaches that family life is sacred, that husband and wife are partners with equal rights and that the destruction of the family by divorce will result in the destruction of society.

Life messages: 1) The spouses need to work hard to create a good marriage: Marriage demands that they should become the right persons for each another. Marriage is a union based on committed sharing, and forgiving, sacrificial agape-love. It requires many mutual adjustments; much generosity and great good will to forgive and ask for forgiveness; sincere cooperation in training children and raising them as practicing Catholic Christians; and daily strength from God obtained through personal and family prayers and punctual participation in the parish liturgy.

2) We need to reach out with Christian sympathy to the divorced and to troubled families. The parish community needs to accept them with respect, compassion, sensitivity, love and support, sharing the depth of their pain from a failed, or failing, marriage. The Church cannot sanction remarriage unless the previous marriage has been declared annulled by the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal. In the meantime, “…they should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to bring up their children in the Christian Faith” (CCC #1651)

Fr. Gus. MS, Pastor