Homily for the twenty-seventh Sunday of the year - Year B - Mk. 10:2-16


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Pharisees came up and in order to test Jesus asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?' He answered them, 'What did Moses command you?' They said, 'Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.' But Jesus said to them, 'For your hardness of heart 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. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.' "


"And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And 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 they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, 'Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.' And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them."





Homily:


"Pharisees came up and in order to test Jesus asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?' He answered them, 'What did Moses command you?' They said, 'Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.' But Jesus said to them, 'For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. ...' "


Jesus, who is very Goodness, is once again attacked by Pharisees, who seek to make him say something reprehensible in order to discredit him in the eyes of the multitude that believes in him, a multitude that does not cease growing in numbers... And it is on the question of divorce that the Pharisees attack Jesus! One could almost say that nothing has changed in the last two thousand years: today, Jesus, in his Church, is still being attacked from all sides by those who deny the insolubility of marriage. There is nothing new under the sun!


"For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment... " Are not the hearts of men and women increasingly hard? Where is love? Not self-love, but the love of others... For our heart is made to love others, that other whom God and his Providence have placed in our path. Where is love, not only love of man, but love of God? Do we really love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind? If so, then, love of others will be easier, though never without difficulties, great or small...


"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. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."


How great a thing is marriage! No reality is greater than this! For God wanted the union of marriage to be the unique mode of expression in which is realized the spiritual, mystical, union between Christ and his Church: Christ is truly the Husband of the Church, and the Church is truly the Wife of Christ! God instituted marriage at the time of the creation of man and woman, for in the first man he already saw Christ and in the first woman he already saw the Church, and in particular Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the perfect model of the entire Church.


"What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." When a man and a woman unite themselves to each other through marriage, a new body is formed, a body which, normally, will be concretized one day by the birth of one or more children. This new body, this unique union between a man and a woman, can never be divided or broken. For, in reality, this new body forms part of the spiritual and mystical union that God wants to realize with all the men and women whom he created in his love. To want to break the union between a man and a woman, would this not almost be like wanting to divide in two the body of their child?


"And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And 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.' "


Marriage is forever: Jesus has said so, and today the Church says the same thing and will continue repeating it until the end of time! Indissoluble marriage is a reality which encompasses all of human history, from the creation to the Parousia, to that ultimate moment when the Husband - Christ - will return to eternally unite himself with all the elect of God, resurrected in body and soul. It will be thus and not otherwise, for love is the strongest thing of all, even stronger that death! The love and grace of God are almighty and nothing can stop them: the man and woman who sincerely believe in the power of the grace of God will always remain firm in the love they have for one another! Nothing is impossible for God...


"And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, 'Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.' And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them."


Usually, it is from their parents that children receive the beginnings of the faith: the kingdom of God comes to them through those who gave them life. They who are but one body with each other, they who manifest through their matrimonial union the union of the entire Mystical Body of Christ, these are the intermediaries through which the kingdom of God is received by children. The kingdom of God is always received in the Church, the Body of Christ. However, this does not prevent the kingdom of God from also being received where marriage is perfectly respected and lived according to simple natural law, but where, unfortunately, Christ is not (yet) known and loved as the Son of God...


Like children, let us have confidence in that other who calls on us, that other who mysteriously forms part of our body... Like children, let us have confidence in the Spirit of God, who watched over the creation of man and woman, and let us allow ourselves to be led by this Spirit, who unites all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ in order to make us children of Mary!



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