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27th Sunday – OT – Cycle B, Oct.4, 2015

 

The theme of today’s readings is marriage and, in our Gospel today, the Pharisees are once again trying
to entrap Jesus, this time with a question about the lawfulness of divorce. Remember the last time
somebody spoke out against illicit unions in the region that Jesus is now in? That someone was Jesus’s
cousin, John the Baptist, who spoke out against Herod’s marriage to Herodias and lost his head because
of it. So, speaking out against accepted practices of the day (illicit though they be) was a dangerous and
touchy thing but notice how Jesus answers the question, not in condemnation of the individual but in
affirmation of the beauty and sanctity of creation and, in particular, the sacrament of marriage. This writ
of divorce was a man-made thing not a God made thing.

Jesus tells them, ‘but from the beginning, it wasn’t so’ and refers to the origins of marriage from a
passage in Genesis which we have as our first reading today. “God made them male and female.. and the
two of them shall become one flesh.” And He didn’t create them so that one had dominion over the
other or that they would separate from each other… he created them to be partners, equal, and to
procreate. So marriage, to coin a phrase, is God’s Love made visible and the conjugal love that is part of
marriage is one of the manifestations of God’s kingdom.

Between the years of 1979 and 1984, Pope John Paul II laid out, through a series of about 130 talks, the
“Gospel of the Body” or what we know as the Theology of the Body. It is possibly one of the most
important works of this generation with regards to humanity and “human love in the divine plan”.
Generally speaking, the Theology of the Body is a catechism on the human person, sexuality, and
marriage in the light of divine revelation. And the readings we have today serve as the basis for his
catechesis.

It took someone as great as John Paul II 130 lessons so it’s not possible for me to explain all of what he
taught in one homily though I can use one thought in particular that may help us understand things. As
Jesus directed the Pharisees to the beginning so too does John Paul, only he starts from a point just
before the point that Jesus refers to. John Paul II teaches that, before there was original sin, there was
original solitude, original unity, and original nakedness. In other words, God creates man; “he (man)
becomes a living soul” and God plants a garden and places him in it. He puts Adam in the garden of
Eden; that place of original grace. And while there, in this state of original grace, God creates woman
from man’s side. Thus we have:

 Original solitude – that point in time that precedes the creation of woman as a suitable partner
for man; it was not good that man be alone.
 Original unity – after woman is created from the man’s side as the bone of my bones and flesh of
my flesh.
 And original nakedness – of which they are not ashamed because they are made in the image and
likeness of God.

What happened next? We all know that evil has no way of touching God but it can touch his creation. So
evil, which cannot touch God, enters into the picture and uses God’s creation to mock Him and make a
mockery of mankind. Mankind gives in to temptation and tries to know what God knows or take control
of what God has created. An early Christian writer by the name of Tertullian wrote (in his “Prescription
against Heretics”) that “Satan seeks to counter God’s plan by plagiarizing the sacraments. So that, by
commandeering the sacraments for his purposes, the great deceiver markets his counterfeit version of
man’s path to happiness.” 1

1Theology of the Body Explained, p. 20, Christopher West.
See? Satan is unable to create, out of nothing, like God did; mankind is unable to do this too. All that
Satan can do (or does) is takes God’s creation, things that are most sacred in this world, and twist them
or distort them. Truth he turns into outright lies; morality into relativism; virtue into vice; marriage into
same-sex unions; sanctity of life into abortion; the dignity of the human person into pornography or
objectivism. He calls the doctrines, dogmas and laws of our faith too restrictive and tells us we must be
tolerant – especially with those who are otherwise trying to take control of God’s creation and shape it
as the “new normal”.
We’re assaulted with these lies and distortions every day and the simple truth is we must reclaim that
which God gave us — in its original form — as it was intended by God. (And if you really want to see
where Satan works the hardest, just have a look at what some of our kids are watching these days on
the TV or on their computers… or are forced to listen to and witness at our supposed institutions of
“higher learning”.) Make no mistake, what we’re being led to believe by some in today’s society is not
normal and as Catholic Christians there can be no such thing as a “new normal”. As Tertullian puts it
these are counterfeit versions of man’s path to happiness”. They are, quite simply, a path that leads to
death.
Human beings can create businesses and legal partnerships and things, but we don’t “create” marriage,
nor can Satan. Marriage is… an objective reality… that existed before any man-made law… it is a gift and
a sacrament. The marriage bond is reinforced with the strength of God’s grace and by His grace it is
transformed into a supernatural reality — no longer two, but one flesh, husbands and wives no longer
exist for themselves, but for each other. That’s how God designed it. And he designed it because he
wanted the love of husband and wife to be a mirror of his own love for us.
The Synod on the family convenes beginning today and it is respect for life month. Respect for life begins
with respect for the sanctity of marriage. Man and a woman are meant to become husband and wife, to
be the nucleus of a new family, and marriage is foundational to bringing new human life into the world.
We must not allow marriage to be redefined according to the Pharisees and politicos of our time and
divorce has to cease being an option. That is the point of our readings today and Christ’s answer to the
Pharisees restored the original indissolubility of marriage as it had been ordained by God, from the
beginning, and as part of our human nature. Christian marriage, is a sacrament, between a man and
woman, and is meant to last forever. And the Catholic Church stands to proclaim and protect the
teachings of Christ in all its richness.
Through our evangelization of others we sow seeds and strengthen the foundation of the church so that
it (we) might remain as that beacon of uncompromised truth in the community and in the world. The
“new normal” of today’s world is the devil’s distortion of God’s creation – it is an abomination. And
Christ’s teachings aren’t a condemnation of the person but a refutation of the act… of a law created
because of man’s hardness of heart. Today, what we ought to be hearing in the readings (and what we
should work to reclaim) is an affirmation of the beauty of God’s creation as He originally intended.
27th Sunday OT – Cycle B
October 4, 2015

To download this homily in PDF to print, click 27th Sunday – Ordinary Time – Cycle B (1).

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