Fr. Mike’s Daily homily for Friday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: What God has joined together let no man put asunder
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches
Homily for Friday February 25 2022
Jesus came into the district of Judea [and] across the Jordan. Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom, he again taught them. The Pharisees approached 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 him 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 him 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.”
From the very start of creation, God designed that man and woman should live together as one: “God made them male and female” (Gen 1:27). “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body” (Gen 2:24). In the Gospel today, the Lord concluded: “So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Very clearly, then, divorce is not according to the plan of God. It is against His will. Moses allowed divorce only “because of the hardness of their hearts.”
The greatest danger in the world is when people arrogate to themselves what exclusively belongs to the Creator. It is God who has the master plan of creation. If this is followed faithfully, all creation will enjoy peace, order, happiness and abundance of God’s blessings. This is what Paradise consists of. For, indeed, the plans and laws of God are meant to help us achieve happiness.
Unfortunately, sin entered the world through the disobedience of our first parents who were made to believe by the ancient serpent that they can replace God. This disobedience led to the painful disruption of the whole of creation because of man’s rejection of God’s plan. We are now reaping the bitter fruits of man’s disobedience and disregard for the will of God.
There is chaos, violence, poverty, injustice and all sorts of sufferings and pain as the result of the people’s ‘hardness of hearts’. There is only one cause of this stubbornness or hardness of hearts: man’s selfishness, the root of all sins.
Selfishness is the anti-thesis of love. While love is total self-giving, selfishness is directed towards the self, the opposite direction. When the self is given excessive and undue importance in one’s life, problems inevitably come. Let us take marriage and family life as the our example to illustrate this point.
A man and woman get married, and this is because they love each other. They promise to give to each other their whole selves in life and love. But the moment one or both of them begin to give inordinate attention to his/her selfish desires, feelings and ambition, disregarding the welfare of the other, then misunderstandings begin, feelings are hurt, resentments increase, which quickly turn into hatred. Soon enough quarrels erupt. If their relationship is not given proper and immediate attention, that is when separation and divorce happen.
Selfishness is the root of the culture of death. We all know that the primary purpose of marriage is procreation. In the divine plan, husband and wife have a very sublime dignity and role, for they are chosen to become God’s partners in His work of creation. That is why parents are called ‘procreators’. They are His instruments in imparting the gift of life. And life starts with love, that is, when the husband and wife give each other completely and selflessly in the marital act. True love is always open to life.
But death begins to rear its ugly head when the marital act becomes selfish, directed only to self-gratification and pleasure. Then the couple will not anymore think about self-giving, and they are not anymore open to life. The contraceptive mentality sets in. Pope St. John Paul II pointed this out: “The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.”
Indeed, the main casualty in the culture of death brought about by selfishness is the family. Unwilling to bear children, couples use artificial contraception. When it fails, there is abortion. The parent, supposed to be channel of life, himself/herself becomes the murderer or his/her own child. If an innocent and helpless infant can be killed, then a criminal who is a threat to society can also be killed. And if a criminal who is strong and healthy can be killed, then the old and sick person in the hospital can also be killed by euthanasia. This is what is called the ‘Slippery Slope’ of the culture of death.
As Christians, we should be defenders and promoters of life. The first step is to obey God’s commands and follow His plan and will. This necessarily means eradicating selfishness from our hearts. Only then will we be able to love, and be open to life. This is the only way to become God’s co-workers of His kingdom on earth – a kingdom of justice, peace and love.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches