27th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B (2021): Gen 2:7,15,18-24; Mk 10:2-16

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Homily Notes for the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B (2021): Gen 2:7,15,18-24; Mk 10:2-16

·  Prior to my move to Our Lady of the Rockies, students from Our Lady of the Assumption school in Calgary gave me some farewell letters. Most of them had a drawing of Jesus, the Cross, a celebration of the Mass and were accompanied by the student’s favourite scriptural verse. Most choose one’s I’d expect like God loves you, Love your Neighbour, You are the Light of the World, etc but one student wrote in very bold lettering “I hate divorce”.

·  They also provided the scriptural reference for where this verse takes place in the Bible, Malachi 2:16, which reads in full ““For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and covering one’s garment with violence,” says the LORD of Hosts. “So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.”

·  I did not know who this child was that wrote me this card, nor did I know the circumstances of their family situation which I speculated to be a home where their parents had or were in the midst of a divorce.

·  Nor did I feel any judgement or ill will towards this couple as I did not know what had brought about their separation, but what I felt deeply was that this child was hurting badly, reaching out to someone who represented God for them as a priest does for many, and expressing what emotions they felt towards the impact divorce had in their life.

·  God’s plan was for marriage to be among the crowning jewels of his creation. Adam and Eve were to be the first of countless married couples who would be united as one flesh, and in that loving communion of husband and wife they would know mutual love and affection for each other and be open to bringing more life and blessing into the world.

·  It is little wonder that the union of man and woman was among the first blessings the Evil One wished to attack, with the first sin harming the marriage of Adam and Eve as they began to blame and mistrust one another, failing to stand up for each other and begin to see how they could use and manipulate one another.

·  Yet the covenant and blessings associated with marriage did not end with Original Sin, but marriage would continually be under attack as the story of salvation unfolded. When Moses allowed the Israelites to end their marriages in divorce, it was not without harmful consequences that notably put women in the unjust situation of being dismissed by their husbands for nearly any cause, leaving them and their children at risk of being left destitute and in vulnerable situations.

·  This was in part why Our Lord ended the compromise made by Moses, to bring an end to the unjust ways the women and their children of his time were divorced and abandoned by their husbands, but also to show humanity that through his Death and Resurrection he would be able to deliver humanity from sin and provide the needed graces for a married couple to be faithful to each other until do them part, graces that did not exist when Original Sin still held sway over humanity.

·  Dear brothers and sister in Christ, we know that our times are ones when marriages are continually confronted with many challenges and divorce is experienced by many couples. It is not our place to judge and condemn those who divorce but to see in what ways we can help them while continuing to uphold the teachings of Christ that from the beginning God willed married couples to remain one and be safeguarded against the ways divorce can wound families.

·  I think it is not without coincidence that Our Lord’s challenging teaching on the indissolubility of marriage was followed by the blessing of children and promise that to be like them is to be on the right path towards eternal life. It is quite possible many of those children he blessed had known divorce in their homes and were seeking the consolation that emanates from the Sacred Heart.

·  Our Lord wants to bring healing into everyone’s life. Might we pray today for all couples who are considering a divorce, have had one, for the children who were impacted and for our capacity to be with them all. Christians have long been said to be known by the love they show unto others, might we not be afraid to show love, compassion and understanding to all those who to whom divorce has had some impact in their lives.