YEAR B: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 27TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (1)

YEAR B: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 27TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

TOPIC: MATRIMONY

BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas

 

Gospel: Mk 10:2-16

Message # 184: “Your Rosary”

(TO THE PRIESTS, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, Marian Movement of Priests)

 

1. Marian Message

a. The message of the Blessed Mother is intended for the month of October, the month of the Holy Rosary. October 7 is the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. It also fits the Gospel message along the theme of the Family Rosary Crusade: “The Family That Prays Together Stays Together.” Nowadays, marriage failures are so common and more and more families break apart at an alarming rate. In effect, societies are standing on shaky ground, considering the fact that the family is the basic unit of society. The Blessed Mother implores all her children to gather together once more in prayer, especially the Rosary, in order to bring about unity, love and peace in families. Jesus promised: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in the midst of them.”

b. The Blessed Mother desires that we pray the Rosary, not only as individuals, but as groups, and in cenacles of prayer (letter e).

c. We pray the Rosary, not only because we are asking something from the Blessed Mother. Rather, we pray the Rosary and offer it to the Blessed Mother so that she will use it for her intentions of saving souls and the world: “I am now able to make use of the power that comes to me from your prayer and I want to intervene as a Mother to shorten the time of the trial and to comfort you in the sufferings that await you” (letter f). “By this prayer, you offer to your heavenly Mother a powerful force in intervening for the salvation of many of my poor straying children and in disposing the painful events of your time according to the motherly plan of my Immaculate Heart” (letter b).

d. The Rosary “is like an immense chain of love and salvation with which you are able to encircle persons and situations and even to influence all of the events of your time” (letter d). Imagine our family praying the Rosary being encircled by this “immense chain of love and salvation” giving protection and assistance to each member, living and departed. e. She earnestly asks all her children “to continue with greater generosity and perseverance in the recitation of the holy rosary” (letter h). She reminds us about the power of the holy rosary as has been proven in the past: “As has already happened in other critical situations, so also today the Church will be defended and saved by its victorious Mother, through the power that comes to me from you, my little children, by means of the frequent recitation of the holy rosary” (letter k).

 

2. Marriage: Definition of Terms and Concepts

a. Marriage – a legally sanctioned union between a man and a woman whereby the persons, by the fact of their marriage, get a new legal status and acquire rights and obligations towards each other. Canon Law states: Marriage is “a covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life and which, of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses, the procreation and upbringing of children, has, between the baptized, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament” (canon 1055, par. 1).

b. Legal Separation – there is a valid marriage from the beginning. But due to irreconcilable differences, the couple decides to put a stop to their conjugal relationship and live separately, “bed and board.” But they still remain husband and wife because the marriage bond remains intact. That is why legally separated couples cannot remarry; otherwise it is a crime of bigamy. The civil court allows this kind of arrangement so that the welfare of the children, especially their legal status, is protected, and the rights of each spouse are respected. All the properties which are considered conjugal cease to be so and their conjugal status in all legal arrangements cease to exist. This is only what the Constitution of the Philippines allows, and nothing more.

c. Divorce – there is a valid marriage from the beginning. But the civil court issues a decree of divorce so that the marriage bond is broken/ dissolved, and the parties are free to marry again. This is not allowed by the Church because it is directly against the teaching of Jesus: “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” This is not also allowed by the Philippine Constitution. Unfortunately, more and more lawmakers are trying to legalize it in our country.

d. Annulment – the accurate terminology is “Declaration of Nullity.” The term “annulment” is misleading. It gives the impression that there is something in existence that is being “annulled.” The concept of “Declaration of Nullity” pertains to a non-existent marriage. For some reasons, there was no valid marriage at all from the very beginning, and the Church Tribunal simply states so by issuing a “Declaration of Nullity.” This is only what the Church can do. With regards to valid marriages, the Church cannot do anything – not even the Pope can nullify a valid (“ratum et consummatum”) marriage.

e. In Civil Law, there is the term “voidable” marriage. It is a marriage that is valid, but “voidable.” How can you render a marriage void when it is valid? This is a contradiction in terms. That is why Canon Law does not use this term “voidable.” A marriage is either valid or invalid (void). If it is valid, there is no human power that can dissolve the marriage bond – not even the Pope, nor the couples themselves. But if it is invalid, then the Church simply declares it null and void. There is no marriage bond that exists, so the Church does not break or dissolve anything.

f. The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility. Unity means marriage is between one man and one woman. It is an exclusive relationship. Bigamy, polygamy and polyandry are excluded. And of course, same sex marriage is never a marriage. Indissolubility means that the valid marriage bond cannot be dissolved by any human power, and it ceases to exist only in the death of either spouse –“till death do us part!” It is a permanent relationship.

g. The “fruits” or “goods” of marriage (specific aims) are the good of the sacrament (bonum sacramenti), for the good of the spouses (bonum fidei), and the good of the children (bonum prolis).

h. Most Common Grounds for Annulment – A marriage is declared null and void, that is, there was never a valid marriage from the very beginning, due to the following grounds of nullity: – Defective Consent due to 1) lack of sufficient use of reason; 2) grave lack of due discretion of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted; and 3) inability to assume the essential obligations of marriage due to causes of a psychological nature. (cf. canon 1095). Other factors that adversely affect matrimonial consent are ignorance, error, deceit, force and fear.

– Defect in the Canonical Form – refers to the official witness who assists at marriage (bishop, priest, deacon), the prescribed liturgical rites and the necessary documents and legal requirements. Civil marriage falls under this category

– lack of canonical form. – Existence of Diriment Impediments, namely, lack of age, impotence (absolute and antecedent), prior marriage bond, disparity of cult, sacred orders, vow of chastity (public and perpetual), abduction, crime, consanguinity, affinity, public propriety, legal relationship.

 

3. The Sunday Gospel a. The Lord gives the lesson on marriage in the Gospel this Sunday. It was occasioned by the question of the Pharisees. They were right that Moses allowed divorce. This is found in Deuteronomy 24:1. That is their legal basis. But Jesus goes deeper than legality. He goes to the core teaching, that is, God’s original design and intention in instituting marriage. It was marriage, a permanent relationship between a man and a woman, which God established. He did not establish nor did He think of divorce. But Moses allowed divorce, not because it is God’s will, but because of their “hardness of heart.” This means that they just could not comply with God’s command, so Moses just issued a decree of divorce to regulate its implementation. b. Back in the house, that is, talking to his own people (not anymore with the Pharisees), Jesus goes deeper, bringing in the concept of sin. Divorce is not anymore a legal question; it is already a violation of God’s command, a direct offense against God. To the man, he said: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” So, bigamy and polygamy are never allowed. To the wife, in particular reference to the Gentile women converted to Christianity (the Greco-Roman law allows them to divorce the husband), Jesus said: “And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” Polyandry is also never allowed by God. c. “God made them male and female.” In Genesis, God created man, His masterpiece of creation, male and female. There is no in- between sex. Homosexuality and lesbianism are not according to God’s plan and design for man. Homosexuality is unnatural – against nature! And engaging in homosexual activities is sinful and is a kind of perversion. Although the Church must care for the homosexuals for they are its ailing members, and they need to be guided and assisted, the Church must also be firm in condemning sin and all kind of perversions. The motto remains: “Love the sinner; hate the sin.” d. “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is the property of marriage, which is called “unity” or “exclusivity.” One man and one woman only, and they become one. That is why there is a change in their status: the man ceases to be called man; he becomes husband; and the woman becomes wife. The wife, then, loses her surname and takes the name of the husband, and they are treated by society as one: Mr. and Mrs. e. “What God has joined together, no human being must separate.” This is the property of marriage called “indissolubility” or “permanence.” It is designed by God to last a lifetime. Marriage, according to Canon Law, is “a partnership for whole life.” Absolutely, no human authority on earth can dissolve the bond of a valid marriage.

 

3. The Sunday Gospel

a. The Lord gives the lesson on marriage in the Gospel this Sunday. It was occasioned by the question of the Pharisees. They were right that Moses allowed divorce. This is found in Deuteronomy 24:1. That is their legal basis. But Jesus goes deeper than legality. He goes to the core teaching, that is, God’s original design and intention in instituting marriage. It was marriage, a permanent relationship between a man and a woman, which God established. He did not establish nor did He think of divorce. But Moses allowed divorce, not because it is God’s will, but because of their “hardness of heart.” This means that they just could not comply with God’s command, so Moses just issued a decree of divorce to regulate its implementation.

b. Back in the house, that is, talking to his own people (not anymore with the Pharisees), Jesus goes deeper, bringing in the concept of sin. Divorce is not anymore a legal question; it is already a violation of God’s command, a direct offense against God. To the man, he said: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” So, bigamy and polygamy are never allowed. To the wife, in particular reference to the Gentile women converted to Christianity (the Greco-Roman law allows them to divorce the husband), Jesus said: “And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” Polyandry is also never allowed by God.

c. “God made them male and female.” In Genesis, God created man, His masterpiece of creation, male and female. There is no in- between sex. Homosexuality and lesbianism are not according to God’s plan and design for man. Homosexuality is unnatural – against nature! And engaging in homosexual activities is sinful and is a kind of perversion. Although the Church must care for the homosexuals for they are its ailing members, and they need to be guided and assisted, the Church must also be firm in condemning sin and all kind of perversions. The motto remains: “Love the sinner; hate the sin.”

d. “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is the property of marriage, which is called “unity” or “exclusivity.” One man and one woman only, and they become one. That is why there is a change in their status: the man ceases to be called man; he becomes husband; and the woman becomes wife. The wife, then, loses her surname and takes the name of the husband, and they are treated by society as one: Mr. and Mrs.

e. “What God has joined together, no human being must separate.” This is the property of marriage called “indissolubility” or “permanence.” It is designed by God to last a lifetime. Marriage, according to Canon Law, is “a partnership for whole life.” Absolutely, no human authority on earth can dissolve the bond of a valid marriage.

 

4. Closing

Prayer for the Family

Lord, bless our family, all of us now together, those far away, all who are gone back to you. May we bear our sorrows in patience. Let love guide our understanding of each other. Let us be grateful to each other. We have all made each other what we are. O Family of Jesus, watch over our family. Amen.

GUIDE QUESTIONS FOR SHARING IN THE B.E.C.

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