Detailed homily for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Theme: THE INDISSOLUBLE UNION
(Njiko na enweghi nkewa)
By: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka
Homily for Sunday October 3 2021
R1 – Gen 2:18-24
R2 – Heb 2:9-11
GOSPEL – Mk 10:2-16
A young couple had a quarrel and the bride of three months called her parents with frustrations and disappointments saying, “Mama, I hate him. We’ve had a fight. I’m sick and tired of this bondage. Papa, I want to come home.” The father very discreetly responded, “I’m sorry, daughter, you have no home here. For better or worse you’ve left for a new home. Work it out the best you can!” and he hung up the phone.
Beloved in Christ, we obviously know that was a difficult thing for a parent to do, but it was the right thing – because the marital union is indeed an unbreakable and indissoluble one, that is meant for men not boys and ladies not girls or babes.
However, the entire readings of this Sunday’s liturgy beam their headlamp on the indissoluble, unbreakable and exclusive nature of conjugal union – revealing God’s initial intention to make this bond between male and female a permanent one; promoting the practice of ardent fidelity between spouses and the ever-faithful God, honoring their holy covenant commitment before Him as the keys to attain a successful marital relationship.
In the first reading, we see God’s original plan about marriage, which supercedes our individual’s, ethnic, cultural, traditional and legislative regulations on marriage:
(i) Marriage is between man and woman (not woman and woman or man and man)
(ii) Marriage is an indissoluble and unbreakable union (not a bond to be broken whenever we are tired)
(iii) It is monogamous… bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh (not bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh – polygamous).
It equally teaches us that God made man and woman for each other. Hence, in marriage they are no longer two but one, united by an unbreakable bond; while emphasizing on God’s plan for a monogamous marital union.
The Gospel reading explains Christ’s explicit teaching on marriage and divorce, the Divine origin of marriage, the sacredness of family life, and the indissolubility of marriage. The Gospel teaches that family life is sacred, that husband and wife are partners with equal rights and that the destruction of the family by divorce is producing the destruction of society.
*THE INDISSOLUBILITY AND UNBREAKABILITY OF MARITAL BOND*
According to William Barclay, the ancient Jewish term for marriage was _kiddushin_ , a term that meant sanctification or consecration. Ordinarily, _kiddushin_ signified the husband’s absolute consecration to his wife and of the wife to her husband. Each became an offering totally given to the other.” (William Barclay). Thus, the Jews had a high ideal of marriage and their rabbis taught: “the very altar sheds tears when a man divorces the wife of his youth.”
However, today’s Gospel reading, serves as the main source from which the Catholic Church derives Jesus’ teaching on the Sacramental nature of marriage and its unbreakability and indissolubility; which there has been true matrimonial consent and consummation, is absolutely indissoluble, except by the death of one of the spouses.
Nevertheless, The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the Church’s teaching: “Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death…… Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society” (CCC #2384, 2385).
(1) *MARITAL UNION IS A VOCATION ORDAINED BY GOD*
Christian marriage is a sacred vocation (a call) that can be sharply differentiated from profession. As much as we answer the call, we are bound to answer it our own way, rather the master’s own way that reveals the unbreakable, indissoluble and exclusive dimensions of marital bond:
(a) That a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and they become one flesh (Gen 2:24).
(b) That a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and the two become one flesh?
They are no longer two, therefore, but one flesh. So then, what God has united, human beings must not divide (Mtt. 19:5-6).
(2) *MARITAL UNION REQUIRES PATIENCE AND TOLERANCE*
The conjugal love that binds the spouses together, requires that each should allow the other’s value to excel above the other, according to Rev Fr Chidubem Ohaeri @LOVE — L =Let, O =Our, V =Values, E= Excel (LET OUT VALUES EXCEL). To let the other’s values to excel can only be realized through the virtues of tolerance and patience… For peace and love to grow simultaneously, one must play the fool (ulo obuna udo di, onye ndidi no ya), because only endurance can win the race for us (Lk 21:19)
(3) *BOTH SPOUSES NEED TO WORK HARD TO CREATE A GOOD MARRIAGE*
Marriage demands that each should become the right person for the other. It means building a union based on committed, sharing and forgiving, sacrificial agape love. This requires a lot of mutual adjustments; mutual generosity and mutual good will to forgive and ask for forgiveness; sincere cooperation in training children and raising them as practising Catholic Christians; and daily strength from God, obtained through personal and family prayers and punctual participation in the parish liturgy.
Finally, a priest once narrated how a young couple came to see him one evening. Their wedding was coming up and he was to officiate at it. At one point the young man said to him, “Father, would you object if we made one small change in the wedding ceremony? Instead of pronouncing us husband and wife ‘till death do us part,’ could you pronounce us husband and wife ’for as long as love lasts?’ We’ve talked about this and we both feel that, should the day come when we no longer love each other, it wouldn’t be morally right for us to be stuck with each other.” But the priest replied, “I do object, and I won’t make the change. You and I know that there is such a thing as divorce, and we know that a lot of marriages these days don’t last until one of the partners dies. But let me tell you something. If you go into marriage with an attitude of, ‘If it doesn’t work out, we can always split,’ then I can almost guarantee you that things won’t work out for you. I appreciate your honesty. But you must understand that a marriage commitment is not just a mutual willingness to live together, but a commitment to accept the frustrations and disappointments that are an inevitable part of two imperfect human beings relating to each other. It’s hard enough to make a go of marriage even when you give it everything you’ve got. But if only a part of you is involved in the relationship, then you have virtually no chance.”
MAY THE LORD GRANT US THE WISDOM TO EVER APPRECIATE AND PROMOTE MARITAL LOVE AND MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING AMONG COUPLES AND FAMILY
*GOD BLESS YOU!*
*FR GERALD MUOKA*