Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – B

Readings:Gn 2:18-24; Ps 128:1-6; Heb 2:9-11; Mk 10:2-16


TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH

“When two people become one by way of marriage, it is not only their hearts
that are united, but their minds and souls as well.”
— Julie Donner Andersen

“From the first instance, the Bible makes it clear that marriage
is a calling from God to care for, bless, and serve another.” -
– Adam Hamilton

******************

The following stories illustrate how tenderness between spouses is so important for a happy, fulfilling relationship.

  • “When I was a little child, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work.

    On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite!

    When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said: “Baby, I love burned biscuits.”

    Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired. And besides – a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!”

    You know, life is full of imperfect things… and imperfect people. I’m not the best housekeeper or cook. What I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults – and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences – is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship. And that’s my prayer for you today!” —- Deb Billy Graham

  • Two families lived nearby. One family had constant quarrels and the other one lived a quiet and friendly life.

    One day, feeling jealous about the nice atmosphere that flourished in the neighbouring family house, the wife told her husband:Go to the neighbours and look what they are doing for their well-being. The husband came, hid and started watching. He saw a woman who was wiping the floor in the room. Suddenly something distracted her, and she ran to the kitchen. At that time her husband rushed into the room. He did not notice the bucket of water, occasionally kicked it, so the water overflowed.

    Then his wife came back from the kitchen and said to him: I’m sorry, honey, it’s my fault because I did not remove the bucket from the way. No, I’m sorry, honey, it’s my fault, because I did not notice it.

    When the man returned home, his wife asked him: Did you understand the reason for their well-being? He relied: I think so. You see, we always want to be right, while each of them didn’t mind taking the blame for the other’s sake.

  • A husband and wife had been living together for 30 years. On the 30th anniversary of their marriage the wife, as usual, baked the bread – she baked it every morning, it was a tradition. At the breakfast she cut it across, buttered both sides, and, as usual, gave the top to the husband, but her hand stopped halfway…She thought: “On the day of our 30th anniversary I want to eat this rosy part of the bun; I was dreaming about this for 30 years. Finally, I was an exemplary wife for 30 years and I raised good sons for him. I put so much efforts and health for the well-being of our family.” So she made a decision and gave the bottom of the bun to her husband, but her hands trembled – breaking the 30-year-old tradition! Her husband took the bun and said to her: What a wonderful gift you gave me today, my dear! 30 years I did not eat my favourite side of the bun, because I thought that it rightfully belonged to you.

First Reading: Gen 2: 18–24

According to Genesis chapter 2 God created man from the earth and God created woman from the side of man. This account has often been misinterpreted to suggest the subordination of woman to man. The translation ‘helpmate’ is not an accurate translation of the Hebrew word. Something like ‘indispensible partner’ would be better. The text suggests that the woman is to stand alongside the man as his equal. She corresponds to him exactly, as the man affirms, ‘bone of my bones’, ‘flesh of my flesh.’ Whereas the man names the animals, suggesting a certain authority over them, he does not name the woman. The primary relationship between the man and the woman is adult human to adult human. The text proclaims that from the beginning God intended men and women to relate to one another with mutuality and partnership. According to our first reading, that relationship of mutuality and partnership between a man and a woman finds its fullest expression in marriage, a ‘man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body.’

Second Reading: Heb 2: 9 -11

Marriage also is a sign of God’s new covenant. As today’s Epistle hints, Jesus is the new Adam — who for a little while was made lower than the angels, born of a human family and crowned with glory and honor because of suffering and death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. The one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.

Gospel: Mk 10: 2-12

The question the Pharisees ask is very straight forward. They ask, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?” The phrase “put away” means “to divorce”. They want to know if a man is permitted to divorce his wife based on the Law of Moses.

There were two basic schools of thought on this topic in Israel. Two rather famous rabbis had handed down their teaching on the matter and most people in Israel followed one of these two rabbis.

One of these rabbis was a man named Shammai. He taught that the only lawful reason a divorce could be granted was for adultery. The Law commended that adulterers were to be put to death by stoning, Lev. 20:10. By the New Testament time period, however, stoning for that reason had been outlawed, and divorce became the remedy for adultery in the marriage. Only the man was allowed to seek a divorce; women could not divorce their husbands regardless of their reasons. The teachings of Shammai were followed by a small minority of the population and the religious leaders.

The other rabbi was a man named Hillel. Hillel held a very liberal view of divorce. He taught that a man could divorce his wife for any reason at all. If she took down her hair in public; if she was seen talking to another man; if she ruined a meal by burning the food or by putting too much salt into it; if she spoke evil of her mother-in-law; if she was infertile; even if her husband saw a woman he thought was prettier, she could be divorced. As you might imagine, this was the most popular view of divorce among the male leaders of Israel. Most of the Pharisees followed the teachings of Hillel.

This is clear in Matthew’s account of this same encounter in Matthew 19:3, they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” It is ironic that the Pharisees, who were so strict in every other area, were so liberal in this area. Most of the Pharisees married and divorced as it pleased them. Of course, this is the way of a legalist. They always find loopholes to allow the flesh to be gratified.

Jesus wants everyone to know that marriage is to be a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman. In the context of that marriage, sexual needs will be, and should be, met, 1 Cor. 7:2-5. If the Lord wills, children will be born. Above all, that marriage relationship is a living, breathing example of Christ’s relationship with his Bride, the church, Eph. 5:21-33. Marriage should be based on mutual love and submission, and like Christ’s relationship with his church, they should last until death.

That is God’s ideal for marriage, but sadly, many marriages simply do not last. Divorces take place. Lives and dreams are shattered. Families are driven apart. Hatred, bitterness and vindictiveness replace love, affection and mutual concern.

The Catholic Church does not permit divorce for valid sacramental marriages. In fact a valid sacramental marriage is impossible to dissolve thereby making divorce not possible if the marriage was sacramental.

In marriage, the two become one flesh in a union joined by God, (Mark 10:8). Jesus speaks about divorce: “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate,” (Mark 10:9). So for a marriage that meets the requirements of being a sacrament, divorce in the Catholic Church is not possible.

The annulment process is by which a marriage is determined whether or not it is valid, it is not a Catholic divorce process. If it found to be invalid (not meeting the requirements of a sacramental marriage) then an annulment would be granted.

Marriage directly parallels our relationship with God. God is 100% faithful in his relationship with us those who choose to get married are called to the same faithfulness.

We need to pray for couples that are going through crises. Pray for couples getting married. Pray for couples separated and especially with kids, that, God may help them and inspire them to walk always on the path of truth and purity.

Here are 10 principles of success for fulfilled marriage by MITCH TEMPLE in the BOOK “FOCUS ON THE FAMILY”.

1. Happiness is not the most important thing. Everyone wants to be happy, but happiness will come and go. Successful couples learn to intentionally do things that will bring happiness back when life pulls it away.

2. Couples discover the value in just showing up. When things get tough and couples don’t know what to do, they need to hang in there and be there for their spouse. Time has a way of helping couples work things out by providing opportunities to reduce stress and overcome challenges.

3. If you do what you always do, you will get same result. Wise couples have learned that you have to approach problems differently to get different results. Often, minor changes in approach, attitude and actions make the biggest difference in marriage.

4. Your attitude does matter. Changing behavior is important, but so is changing attitudes. Bad attitudes often drive bad feelings and actions.

5. Change your mind, change your marriage. How couples think and what they believe about their spouse affects how they perceive the other. What they expect and how they treat their spouse matters greatly.

6. The grass is greenest where you water it. Successful couples have learned to resist the grass is greener myth — i.e., someone else will make me happy. They have learned to put their energy into making themselves and their marriage better.

7. You can change your marriage by changing yourself. Veteran couples have learned that trying to change their spouse is like trying to push a rope — almost impossible. Often, the only person we can change in our marriage is ourselves.

8. Love is a verb, not just a feeling. Everyday life wears away the “feel good side of marriage.” Feelings, like happiness, will fluctuate. But, real love is based on a couple’s vows of commitment: “For better or for worse” — when it feels good and when it doesn’t.

9. Marriage is often about fighting the battle between your ears. Successful couples have learned to resist holding grudges and bringing up the past. They remember that they married an imperfect person — and so did their spouse.

10. A crisis doesn’t mean the marriage is over. Crises are like storms: loud, scary and dangerous. But to get through a storm you have to keep driving. A crisis can be a new beginning. It’s out of pain that great people and marriages are produced.

 To end with, let us see how a little humour and wisdom can go a long way in saving a marriage from pain, anger and frustration ……

A husband and wife had been married for 60 years and had no 
secrets except for one: The woman kept in her closet a shoe box that 
she forbade her husband from ever opening. But when she was on her deathbed—and with her blessing—he opened the box and found a 
crocheted doll and $95,000 in cash.

“My mother told me that the secret to a happy marriage was to never 
argue,” she explained. “Instead, I should keep quiet and crochet a doll.”

Her husband was touched. Only one doll was in the box—that meant she’d been angry with him only once in 60 years. “But what about all this money?” he asked.

“Oh,” she said, “That’s the money I made from selling the dolls.”

Photo by Hideyuki Kamon

Fr. Gaspar Fernandes, OFM Cap.

 

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