Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Homily 27th Sunday of the Year 4 October 2009

In the movie “Fireproof,”
Kirk Cameron plays Caleb Holt,
an heroic and respected captain of a city fire department
who values dedication and service to others
thinks little of risking his life to save those in danger
and never leaves his partner behind.

Yet, at home, his most important partnership in life is going up in smoke.

His marriage to Catherine, played by Erin Bethea, is slowly crumbling.

Both husband and wife, though devoted to their careers,
are superficial in their relationship with each other.
His fireman’s schedule and her 9 to 5 routine rarely overlap
and it is as if they are leading totally separate lives
while living under the same roof.
Their respective friends support their individual selfishness
and fail to help them see the web of problems in their marriage.

When Caleb’s father offers him a book
containing a 40-day plan aimed at restoring a troubled marriage,
he reluctantly accepts the challenge
and begins a painful process of transforming his life.

Each day, he takes greater steps to make his love for his wife come alive.
By his self-sacrifice and dedication,
accepting the responsibility even when all the blame is not on him,
he fights valiantly to restore their relationship.

At moments he could have given up on his marriage and walked away,
he courageously goes back into the fire, as it were,
placing his commitment to love above all else
and refusing to leave his partner behind.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is presented by the Pharisees with the question of divorce.

The Israelites had so strayed from God’s paths regarding marriage
and so burdened the heart of their leader, Moses,
that he relented and allowed them to divorce one another.

We can relate to the condition of the culture in the time of Jesus.

Sadly, in our world today, divorce is an everyday occurrence,
statistically as common among Catholics as in the general population,
and increasingly accepted as an easy way out.

We are captivated by celebrities, who bounce from one marriage to another,
with seemingly no concern about the consequences for themselves
or the young people who look up to them.

When the Pharisees ask Jesus if divorce is lawful, they are trying to trap him.
Yes, strictly speaking, from a human point of view, divorce is lawful.
Moses has allowed it and it has become part of the Jewish legal tradition.

However, in God’s eyes, it is not only unlawful, it is impossible.
Jesus replies to the Pharisees by appealing to the account of God’s original creation
and therefore to His original design for the human person.

He cuts through the confusion, holds up the dignity of marriage
and calls them back to the original truth of God’s plan.

He says,
“From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall…be joined to his wife
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.”

In the beginning of creation, God created the human person in His image,
created them male and female
and designed them to live united in a loving relationship
after the image of God who is love.

Men and women are made for each other, made for love,
and destined to image God by their loving union.

With heavy hearts, we recognize that at times relationships truly fail,
indicating at times that the foundation of a real union was never there at all.
The separation of husbands and wives has devastating effects on young people,
who are caught in the middle of their parents’ real suffering.

Surrounded by failed attempts to love and the debris of broken lives,
we turn in confidence to God,
whose love and care are boundless and unfailing.

That infinite and tender love of our Heavenly Father,
together with His beloved Son and their Holy Spirit,
is revealed in the love of husband and wife.

As Jesus did for the Pharisees,
the Church holds up the dignity of marriage between men and women,
calling all people to its fundamental truth.

None of the various wild animals or birds of the air,
though beautiful creatures of God in themselves, truly satisfied Adam,
until at last God created woman,
whom Adam declares is “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!”

Only woman is a suitable partner for man, and the two become one flesh.

So, too, for each of you are called to married love,
there is only one in God’s plan who is truly yours,
who completes you, and with whom you become one flesh.
You know this in your hearts – you knew it when your eyes first met –
because the longing deep within your souls and truth of God are one!
The love you share compels you like nothing else to live for the other,
to fight for the growth and deepening of your relationship in Christ,
and to never leave your partner behind.

In the face of such love, human wisdom stands aghast in awe.
For in this love, the love of husband and wife, mankind beholds the image of God.

This love is worth fighting for, in our homes and in our society.
And so, into the fire we go, together, as people of faith,
confident that strong and virtuous marriages and families
remain the best and brightest beacons of hope
for the future of God’s marvelous creation.


Anonymous said...

Grow up, Father, and see that the Catholic Church fosters adultery and divorce through its pastoral practices and it tribunals.

You are SO BLIND, foolish little man.


Or shut you stupid mouth and bury your email/blog.

A Former Catholic

Father Matthew J. Albright said...

Quite honestly, "Anonymous," I have no idea what you're talking about. The Church does not in any way foster adultery or divorce. Quite to the contrary, the Church's law and pastoral ministry defends the truth of Marriage and lovingly reaches out to help men and women find closure and the freedom to move on with their lives after troubles marriages through the annulment process. Your anger aginast the Church, which you admit to have abandoned, is no excuse for falsely representing the Church's ministry.

Father Matthew Albright