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 him 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 him asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?' "


Jesus is completing his ministry, going to Jerusalem for the last time: he will soon enter the city in triumph, on Palm Sunday, a few days before his Passion and his Resurrection. It is at this time that some Pharisees approach Jesus in order to put him to the test. And, under the influence of the spirit of temptation, they find nothing more insidious than this question concerning divorce.


Indeed, Jesus, through his Passion - which is ceaselessly before his eyes, especially now that the ultimate battle is so near - will confirm his covenant with his Church, and, through her, with all of humanity. Jesus is the Spouse of the Church ever since his Incarnation, and through his Passion and his Resurrection, he will seal in his Blood this eternal Covenant into which he entered through his perfect and continual accomplishment of his Father's Will.


So, by asking the Lord this question, the Pharisees place before him the temptation of divorce; but he, faithful to the Will of his Father, had already decided to answer, as always, for the good of his Bride, the Church: " Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt." (Mark 14:36)


" 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.' "


By his Passion, Jesus will unite all men through faith in the purifying virtue of his precious Blood, shed for the sins of all men and women throughout history. The Passion of Jesus is the means of unity and communion; the Lord himself expressed this when he was about to be arrested like a criminal: "That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (John 17:21) This was Jesus' prayer on the eve of his Passion; there is no doubt that he was thinking of the words he had spoken a little earlier: "What God has joined together, let not man put asunder."


Unity among men is realized in the Passion of the Lord; the union of man and woman in marriage cannot escape this dimension common to all: this union must pass through suffering and pain. If a union between a man and a woman is to last until death, as the Lord wants it to, then this union will undergo trials, but trials that, like the Passion of the Lord, will lead to the Resurrection, already in this life.


For marriage is a sacrament, a very great sacrament, the sacrament that is certainly the closest to the Eucharist: these two sacraments are indeed real signs of the union of Christ and all humanity. So while marriage may have some difficult phases, there is no lack of help from God for the spouses, especially the powerful and effective aid of the sacrament of the Eucharist.


" 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."


Jesus loves children very much. Are they not the living expression of the union of the spouses who gave life to them? Let us be like them, let their simplicity and their littleness be an example to us. May Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus intercede for us in order that the Lord might grant us littleness of the soul, just as children have littleness of the body! May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary help us to receive communion worthily on this day! May She pray for us in order that our union with Christ in the Eucharist might be the leaven that makes the union of all the men and women of the entire world grow ceaselessly!



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