YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 27TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: MARRIAGE IS A SACRED INSTITUTION LIKE THE CHURCH.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
READINGS: Gen. 2: 18-24, Ps. 128, Heb. 2: 9-11,
Mark. 10: 2-16
In the creation of the world, God had man in mind as the prime and summit of creation. It is in man that he painted his picture to creation and made him his representative among all creatures as well as custodian of all creatures.
The love that God is chiefly made of or that is the other name of God was bestowed on man from creation. To this effect, man was God’s preoccupation and main concern that took prominence in his mind. He thinks and plans man, he feels man and observes man’s mood. This was why he noticed quickly that man in the midst of other creatures given to him to control and enjoy was dissatisfied and needed something extra not yet in sight. This is the scenario that the first reading of today paints dramatically.
God decided from creation to institute marriage as a sacrament of love, union, completion and satisfaction, a sacrament of support, help and fulfilment. He gave man the desire of his heart to make him complete and fulfilled. Before then, man found not much meaning and joy in other creatures. He made the woman from what was already in man and not new or distinct. So he named her- WO-MAN, taken from man, belonging to man, part of man, another part of man. This means that man was not complete and “okay” prior the discovery (creation) of woman. Little wonder a woman is called the better half. If she is the better half it means the other half found in man is not as good as the one in woman which is better. It can be said that woman gave meaning to the life and happiness of man from creation. Psychologically today the creature woman has a lot to do to the emotional satisfaction and imbalance of a man especially when he is worried and tensed.
Beloved, it is disheartening when people do not recognise the institution of marriage as a holy sacrament of God’s love. This is a mystery that St Paul equated with the life of the Church and Christ who is her bride. It has to be respected as such and defended with every sense of respect and sanctity it deserves. We cannot forget the prominence Christ gave to this great institution when he worked the first miracle at the instance of its celebration even when his time was not due. Christ saved marriage from shame and public disgrace and ridicule. This is why the essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility. And so, the question of the Pharisees to Jesus to drive home their lack of understanding of this institution was rebuffed by Christ; divorce comes because of hardness of heart against the divine teaching on marriage.
God has already celebrated from creation the marriage or union of man and woman in an unbreakable bond of peace and love. No one has right to threat the counterpart or partner with disrespect or scorn. No one should deal with each other as if God is not part of this union or as if he does not take note of each person’s actions towards the other.
Beloved, the example Jesus sets before us in the second reading is of sacrifice, humility and suffering for the people whom he loved. He accepted for a while to be made lower than the angels and this should be in our focus as we relate with one another especially in the institution of marriage. Humility, sacrifice and readiness to free the other from pain and suffering must be our preoccupation. We must lower ourselves and empty ourselves of pride and prominence and seemingly look lower than what we originally are just to accommodate the other and make the other happy and fulfilled. Pride and arrogance are enemies of human togetherness, dignity, union and love. Jesus did this because he sees himself who sanctifies and us who are sanctified as having one origin and so never gets ashamed of each of us to call us brothers and sisters. This is what we should do in the case of others. This is why he sets before us the image of a child as an example to follow in their lowliness, humility, simplicity, truthfulness, innocence, forgiveness, trust and confidence in others; seeing no enmity but making friends with all. Even in marriage we must remain friends and brothers/sister to each other. It is important to note from the first reading that no matter what anybody has and surround himself with and no matter what we see around us as beautiful things of this world, our joy can only come or be complete when our fellow human being is with us. The other is the taste and meaning of every other thing we have. The other makes us to appreciate the rest of things we have. Man is not made to be an island but to live in union of love and appreciation of the other. Every other thing remains material and temporarily satisfying but fellow human being brings happiness and joyful leaving. No one can delude himself thinking that anything of this world is important than his fellow human being. It is ontologically untrue and not possible to live without the other. Man made in the image and likeness of God is communitarian and Trinitarian and cannot be alone without the other.
May we be counted among the blessed that walk in his ways and that we may prosper all the days of our lives. May God give us the grace to relish our fellow human beings and respect the other partner as God-gift and source of peace and satisfaction and then accord respect to everybody around us and may humility and sense of sacrifice of ourselves make us empty ourselves of pride in other to cherish the other especially in marriage, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf