Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 3
May Each of Us Be True Witnesses in the World, Wherein Living the Love of Christ for One Another Truly Does Make a Difference, No Matter What Our State in Life May Be.
We read from the Book of Genesis today, “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…” And in the Gospel, Jesus responds to a question the Pharisees posed, “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”
In our Responsorial Psalm today, we read, “Blessed are you who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways!” And it is this singular verse which ties all of our Readings together into a common theme, for today we read about relationships – our relationship to each other and, most importantly, our relationship to God.
“Blessed are you who fear the LORD…” As I have written several times in past meditations, fear of the Lord is that special quality in which we find ourselves emptying from within us our pride, our self-centeredness, even our own selfishness – all those undesirable traits or behaviors which diminish our relationship with God, and can hinder us in our relationships with others.
And in place of these undesirable qualities, we are filled with humility, a selfless and self-sacrificing attitude for the good of others, and a true desire to embrace the will and mind of God in our own lives – in all that we think, in all that we say and live in our day-to-day activities.
And then our psalmist goes on to say, “For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; your children like olive plants around your table.”
For those who truly embrace all that God asks of us in our daily lives, He will not forsake us nor leave us to our own defenses. Rather, He will bless us with what He knows we truly need – to give us strength and consolation as we journey through the many peaks and valleys we shall experience in life.
The story that we are given from the Book of Genesis is not that one sex is better or less than another. Rather, it is a story of relationship – one that exists between each one of us and the God who has created us, and also the relationship that exists between a man and a woman.
And there is an old proverb which emphasizes this point – “Woman was taken out of man; not out of his head to top him, nor out of his feet to be trampled underfoot; but out of his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.”
And it is this relationship of selfless love between a man and a woman which is oftentimes so misunderstood and even trivialized in a society which prides itself on materialism, and a secularistic, even an unnatural way of thinking that is focused only on ego – on what is good for “me”, what pleases “me” rather than what pleases God.
We hear, in our First Reading, God saying, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” And in the Gospel our Lord repeats the words found in Genesis, “God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Why is it that modern society tends to belittle, even disparage the marital relationship between a husband and wife? What is it about this relationship that causes such disharmony from those who demean the sanctity of a monogamous and heterosexual union? And why is the nature of man so bound, in some instances, to rewrite the Natural Law of God so as to create a whole new definition of marriage – contrary to the very will of God itself?
When God created man in His image, He created us to know Him, inasmuch as God has revealed Himself to us. And by creating man in His image, in which we are given an immortal soul at the very moment of our conception, God calls each one of us to imitate His Holiness; He calls us to imitate the loving relationship which exists between Christ and the Church; He calls each of us to imitate the loving relationship which exists between each of the Divine Persons of the Most Blessed Trinity.
And whether we realize it or not, God gives to each one of us the grace to be able to imitate Him in each of these ways. He gives each of us the grace to live out our lives in harmony with all that God asks of us.
God has placed within each of us the innate ability to know right from wrong, to know the difference between holiness and sinfulness. But He has also given us the gift of free will. We have each been given the freedom to say “yes” to all that God has revealed to us and asks of us, and He has also given us the freedom to say “no”.
He has given us the right to choose whether we will live our lives in accordance with His Commandments of love towards Him and towards each other; He has given to each of us the freedom to embrace the virtues which make us pleasing to God Himself – including those virtues which make us selfless in our love that we show towards one another.
This is why our Lord explains to His disciples the necessity of being childlike in the way we live our lives. “Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” In other words, whoever does not turn with total dependence upon and obedience to the Gospel message sets him or herself against the mind and will of God; and, in so doing, we forfeit the joy, peace and love of eternal life in Heaven and invite upon ourselves the eternal torment and never-ending despair of Hell.
Being childlike means to embrace those attributes which allow us to become a holier person – humility, charity, chastity, faithfulness and an unquestioning trust in Divine Providence. One who is truly childlike is one who accepts whatever God may send his or her way – as a total act of trust, as a total surrender of ourselves so that God’s Divine will may be more perfectly fulfilled in us.
Even in our Second Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, for those of us who truly surrender our ego so that God’s will may be brought to fulfillment, the author writes “He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin.” And that origin is Christ Himself, who “…is not ashamed to call [us] ‘brothers [and sisters].’”
And if Christ is our brother, and surely He is, and if His Father is our Father, for Christ has given us the courage to call Him “Abba”, then our relationships to all our brothers and sisters in Christ should be one of selfless giving of ourselves for the well-being of each other, just as our Heavenly Father and our Divine Brother give selflessly of themselves for each one of us.
Our Catechism teaches us, “God who created man out of Love also calls him to love – the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is Himself Love”
And it is this love, which truly binds a man and a woman to each other, which becomes symbolic of the Eternal Love which binds God to each of us. And just as God would never break the bond of His Love for His children, so Jesus tells us today, “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”
Whether one is called to a life of celibacy, or a life of selfless giving of oneself for the good of his or her spouse, we are each called to love as God loves. We are each called to love selflessly and generously.
And yet, sometimes we find it so difficult to show love for each other. And Jesus addresses this issue in today’s Gospel with words which demonstrate the weakness in our human nature, “Because of the hardness of your hearts…”
Each of us desires happiness in our individual lives, and it is also God’s desire that our hearts be filled with contentment. Saint Augustine once wrote, “We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who does not assent to this proposition.”
In these modern times in which we live today, the question then begs to be asked – “How do we find happiness in a society where man is so determined to inflict pain upon another, in a culture which is so oriented towards selfishness and greed, and where, in some parts of the world, man seems determined to destroy his fellow man because of ideological or religious differences?”
All we need do is open our eyes and look into the untold numbers of faces throughout the world, expressions which portray anxiety, apprehension, sadness, even fear. Unfortunately, life for many people, who do not truly have Christ as their anchor, tends to become very burdensome and oppressive.
But for those of us who do have and live Christ at the very center of our lives, who truly do live the joy of faith which fills our hearts, may the Spirit of Truth, who enlightens, teaches and guides us daily, lead us in selfless love and prayer with an expectant and joyful faith for our fellow brothers and sisters.
We know that we cannot heal every ill or solve every problem. But with the help of God’s grace, and through our unceasing prayer, we can make a difference – through our confidence in God’s providential Love and our total surrender to His will in our daily lives.
May each of us be true witnesses in the world, wherein living the love of Christ for one another truly does make a difference, no matter what our state in life may be.
And may those in the world who are married show to others what it truly means to live our vocation of selfless love for the good of our partner in life, imitating the selfless Love which God shows for each and every one of us throughout all eternity.
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, and who walk in his ways. What your hands provide you will enjoy; you will be blessed and prosper. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your home, Your children like young olive plants around your table. Just so will the man be blessed who fears the LORD.” (Psalm 128:1-4)
- “The LORD God said: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him’…So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman. When he brought her to the man, the man said: ‘This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.’” (Genesis 2:18, 21-23a)
- “Jesus said [to the Pharisees] ‘…from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.’” (Mark 10:6-9 ~ Genesis 1:27c; 2:24)
- “Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” (Mark 10:15)
- “He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them ‘brothers.’” (Hebrews 2:11)
- “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.” (1 John 3:1ab)
- “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
- “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)
- “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. [Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
- “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord Jesus Christ,Anonymous
Your call to holiness extends to all in every state of life.
As Your children, we ask that you please sanctify the lives
of all called to the married state and those called to be single.
May we live as men and women
who are consecrated to You and to Your Love for us.
“Most Merciful God,
help us to become as leaven in a society, in a culture,
which does not respect enduring marriage fidelity,
and which does not hold in high esteem
a life of chastity and life solely lived out of love for Your will.
“Almighty and Most Loving Father,
as Your children, please give us the grace we need
to live fully the life to which You have called each one of us,
so that the lives we live may give glory to You,
and bring salvation to our own souls.
In Jesus’ Most Holy Name, we pray. Amen.”