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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Homily 27th Sunday of the Year 8 October 2006

From the ancient tradition of the Jewish Rabbis,
there is a beautiful saying about man and woman
that is appropriate, given today's readings from Holy Scripture:

God created woman…
Not from man’s head, lest she rule over him.
Nor from his feet, lest she be a slave to him.
But from his side…that she may be close to his heart.

[PAUSE]
In His love and wisdom, God has made men and women in a particular way.
Men and women are different in significant ways:
not only are their bodies created differently…
they relate differently to other people
and they approach life differently.
I once read a book about the many differences between men and women,
with regards to emotions, family life, and other issues.
In the book there was a story of a couple going through marriage counseling.
It came out that the woman wanted her husband to be more affectionate,
and to express his feelings more intensely, and more concretely.
So…the man responded immediately…
by going home and very thoroughly washing his wife’s car!

You may recall another popular book from a few years ago…
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.
But the truth is that the differences we see in men and women
do not divide them…as if they are from different planets.
Rather these differences express a certain complementarity
which is essential to the very being of men and women.
and which is expressed in every aspect of their being…
in thew ways they relate
in the ways they approach situations in life,
in their very biological design.

As Pope John Paul the Great once wrote…
“Men and women are made for each other!”

Eve was created out of Adam’s rib…from his side.
She is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh…
and by the loving design of God…
man and woman are meant to cling to one another.

[PAUSE]

God knows it is not good for men and women to be alone.
He has created them to be suitable partners for one another.
He has made them to be joined as one flesh.

And what is more…
He has established the covenant of Marriage
as a sacred bond in which men and women live for one another.

The ancient Tradition of the Church,
founded on the Revelation of God as revealed to us through the Scriptures,
in particular the Book of Genesis, from which we read at Mass today,
defines Marriage as:
“a partnership of the whole of life
which a man and a woman establish between themselves”

[PAUSE]

A partnership between a man and a woman…
Why?!
Is this simply because the Pope says so?
Or because the Church out of touch with our modern world?
Or because God or the Church is mean,
and wants to permit people from expressing their “love”?
Those are the accusations one hears in the media today.

Certainly none of this true…for the Church is guided in truth by the Holy Spirit…
and there is something incredibly profound at work in God’s loving plan.

So then why does the Church insist that Marriage is a
partnership between a man and a woman?
For no other reason than this:
because God has made us for love
and has designed the minds…bodies…and souls of men and women
so that they fit together…
and their entire persons become one!
No other partnership besides that of a man and a woman can express
the deep physical and spiritual complementarity
which is so essential to the way God designed men and women to be.

The covenant of Marriage is more than physical.
It is a relationship of self-giving love…
love which must be expressed not just in a bodily way but in every way…
in every moment.

God Himself is the model for the love to which we are called.
The Letter of Saint John contains three incredibly powerful words…
“God is Love.”
For God, love is not merely a personality trait or a past-time…
it is the most essential part of who God is!
God the Father loved us so much that He sent His own Son,
so that we might have life.
And in the greatest act of love and self-surrender known to human history
the Author of Life was put to death by men.
No greater love is or ever will be than this…
that Jesus laid down His life for those whom He loved.

We are created to love precisely like this…
totally…selflessly…completely for others!

This is particularly the vocation of husbands and wives:
to love totally…selflessly…for one another.

[PAUSE]

Many people in the world in which we live do not understand
the beauty of the human person
or the rich meaning of self-giving love.

Marriage is being re-defined today as something arbitrary and adaptable…
for whoever…whenever…and however it is convenient…
even to the point of so-called “gay marriages.”

We hear God speak to us today a very different message:
that men and women are created to become one flesh,
to be joined together in a bond that is loving, permanent, and fruitful.

And no other union to which one may arbitrarily attach the name “Marriage”
suffices to express who God has called us to be.

Marriage is seen by society as something that can be changed.
The joy of being Christian is that we know that Marriage is stable.
We do not change the Sacrament of Marriage…
Marriage changes us!

Marriage exists so that those joined by it may be sanctified,
and may be for one another a sure help on their journey toward Heaven.
Marriage is the means by which God has ordained that men and women
should participate in His work of creating new human life.

[PAUSE]

I can tell you that it always brings me great joy to see couples and families
striving to faithfully live out your commitment to one another.
Married life and raising children is not easy…
perhaps it is even more difficult in these times…
but your example of love and dedication is nothing less than
a sign of God’s love at work in the world.

Our world desperately needs the strong example of holy and faithful families.
It needs us to defend Marriage in its true fullness, as God designed it.
It needs us to care for those who find life burdensome,
who struggle with their sexuality,
who look for love in all the wrong places.
The world needs us to show it how to love again.

As we turn toward the Lord, to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist…
as the Bridegroom comes again to unite himself to His Bride, the Church…
as Heaven is wedded to earth again on this Altar…
May the grace of this Sacrament strengthen us to teach by example, and to pray
so that people will come to see the beautiful plan God has in store for them.
And may we ever remain close to the heart of Christ!

1 comment:

Denise said...

Hmm, hasn't it been 8 October on your blog for quite some time now? :)

This was a very good homily.

Pax et bonum,
Denise