YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 27TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: “YES, I DO FOREVER!”
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Every morning, the husband reads the newspaper while drinking his coffee. One day, the wife commented: “I wish I were a newspaper, so I would be in your hands first thing every morning.” The man looked up and nodded, “Yes, you’re right. How I wish my wife is a newspaper, so I could have a new one every day!”
Nowadays, people are beginning to believe that to live together in life-long marriage is the exception, while being separated or divorced is the ordinary case. Parish records show that the number of weddings in Catholic churches has dramatically dropped in most parts of the world. Golden and silver wedding jubilees have indeed become very rare. We hardly know of couples living together in marriage until old age.
An elderly couple was lying in bed one night. As usual, it is the husband who was falling asleep ahead of the wife. But on this night, the wife was in a romantic mood. “Remember when we were still young?” she whispered in her most sexy voice. “You used to hold my hand in bed until you fall asleep.” The man sluggishly reached across, held her hand and tried to get back to sleep. After a few moments, she said, “Then you used to kiss me before sleeping.”
Mildly irritated, he turned to her, kissed her on the cheek and settled down to sleep. Just when he was about to sink into a deep sleep, she again said, “Then you used to bite my neck.” With a sigh of exasperation, the man threw aside the blanket and jumped out of bed. “Where are you going?” she asked. He snapped, “I am going to the bathroom to get my teeth!”
The first reading this Sunday talks about the situation during the time of Moses. God gave His commandments to His people through Moses. But the people had real difficulty following most of the commandments, especially on marriage. Divorce and polygamy were so common that they thought these were the right way. So, in order to maintain some kind of order in the community, and to regulate matters involving divorce, Moses had to promulgate a decree of divorce. It is not right and it is definitely a violation of God’s command. But since they persisted in their ways – “because of the hardness of your hearts” – Moses had to do something to maintain peace and order among the people. That was the reason why divorce was allowed among the Israelites.
Every time I say Mass for the 50th Wedding Anniversary of a couple, I would always look at their original wedding photo. What I would invariably notice is that on the day of their wedding, they looked totally different. But after 50 years of living together, everybody can see that they now look almost like brother and sister. This is what our Lord said: “They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mk 10:8-9). Jesus made it clear that from the very beginning of creation, God has never allowed divorce.
Why is marriage such a necessary human institution? The answer is simple: it is necessary for the survival of the human race. In the Gospel, quoting the Book of Genesis, Jesus said, “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female” (Mk 10:6). The man and the woman were intended by God to be complementary with each other. The man alone is not complete: “The Lord God said: ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him’” (Gen 2:18). He becomes complete only when he is joined with the woman. And the bond that joins them is love. Love is not just a feeling or emotion. It is a lifelong decision to stick it out together through thick and thin, “for better or worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health,” until death. This union of man and woman is best expressed in the sexual act. This act naturally brings forth children that ensure the posterity of mankind. Hence, the idea of same-sex “marriage” is totally unacceptable. It is impossible for persons of the same sex to produce offspring. That is why, “from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.”
And in order that the procreation and upbringing of children will be assured so that the future of mankind is safeguarded, couples have to be in a stable relationship. Marriage is what makes their relationship stable. Married couples are able to establish a stable family where children are well cared for and raised up as good and responsible citizens of society. So important is marriage that Jesus raised this human institution to the level of a sacrament, so that the union of man and woman enjoys the blessing and protection of God.
For those who are entertaining the idea of divorce, let me say this one thing: In the end, it is God who will judge us. And His judgment will not be based on the laws of the United States of America or of any country for that matter, which legalize abortion and divorce. It will be based on the law of God. We will be judged whether or not we followed His law. It is very clear in the teachings of Jesus that divorce is a violation of the law of God.
During the celebration of a golden wedding anniversary of a couple, the priest asked the man about the formula for their long and successful married life. The man said, “Just say yes all the time! There will be no trouble.” One thing people need to do today is to say yes. Married couples must be able to say yes to each other. That is what it means by love as total self-giving. Marriage is not a fifty-fifty relationship; it is a one hundred percent relationship – total giving of self to each other. And most importantly, husbands and wives, and their children must be able to say yes to God all the time. Saying no to God is what sin consists of. And when sin comes in, the devil is not far behind to inflict chaos and ruin to our families and our homes. How true, indeed, is the famous quotation, “Behind a successful man, there is a woman; behind an unsuccessful man, there are two!” A wise man said: “A man who divorces his wife and marries another is not only foolish, but also more miserable: he ends up having two mothers-in-law!”
God wants us to live in peace and happiness. This will happen only if we go back to His original teachings and follow them faithfully. Trouble comes in when we turn away from God, when we let our selfishness and pride rule our lives, and when we deviate from the original plan of God. Let us bring back God into the center of our homes and families. As the motto of the Family Rosary Crusade reminds us, “The family that prays together, stays together.” Then peace, happiness and salvation will be ours now and for always.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Palmera Springs, Susano Road Camarin, Caloocan City 1422