Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
Loneliness, division, animosity, and frustration are prominent situations we see throughout the world, in our families and in our communities. We see these especially in the rise of divorce and abortion cases, in heavily militarized regions, in places of reckless production of weapons, nuclear or otherwise, in wars between and among nations, in emotionally and mentally upset persons, in the uncontrolled downfall of the economy, in the dramatic breakdown of morality, and many others.
God did not create all these. He wants us to be happy in relationship. The book of Genesis tells us that God is concerned with man’s loneliness. He did not create man to live in solitude, but in relationship with others. So, God also created someone suitable for him. Though animals may be good pets and companions, only human beings created in the image of God can be suitable and proper companions for one another. Though marriage between man and woman is considered of high degree for happy relationship, it is not the only joyful and wholesome relationship and not the only way to overcome loneliness. Friendship, service to the needy and relationship of brothers and sisters in religious communities also lead to joyful relationships. All these relationships in marriage, in communities, in service and in friendship are responses to God’s call to a life of holiness. The letter to the Hebrews tells us about Jesus, the reason for any relationship: “He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them ‘brothers’” (Heb 2:11).
Since all relationships are meant to be happy, loving and holy, God united Himself with His people and with His Church. God’s commandments and Jesus’ command to love one another are one and the same instruction for eternal life. Holy Scripture tells us that, for reasons of discontent and impatience, the Israelites worshipped other gods and turned away from God. Thus, God called His people adulterous. The Gospel today tells us also about the sin of adultery that married couples commit when they divorce each other and marry another. In the light of God’s loving relationship with His people, adulterous situations may also mean:
– leaving God, our first love, by worshiping the gods of power, wealth and pleasure, and going with the devil, who promises only temporal and fleeting pleasures;
– deliberately and consciously leaving the faith for another solely for monetary reward and other forms of compensation;
– compromising virtues for temporal and fleeting gains;
– compromising honesty for a short-lived gain;
– taking advantage of knowledge and authority to gain power and wealth at the expense of the weak and the poor; and
– many others.
“To accept Jesus’ teaching on marriage requires the openness of children and a sense of dependence on God’s strength matching the child’s sense of dependence on parents. When love is authentic, strong, sincere and firm, it is accompanied by vision, joy and creativity, new life and a desire for holiness” (Fr.T. Rosica, CSB, Marriage and the Family: Humanity’s Future, Biblical Reflection for 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time B). So, to walk in the ways of the Lord, we need to be always mindful of His presence and of His love for us. We also need to take into account the following:
1. Our vision of the Kingdom of God even in this life, a humble consideration of our origin, that from dust we came and to dust we shall return, and a hopeful consideration of our destiny in the glory of God.
2. Our determination and perseverance to be faithful to Jesus. These are gifts that the Lord Himself gives to those who prayerfully seek Him at all times and who gratefully abide by His commands.
3. Our readiness to respond and our commitment to His call to holiness through prayer, study of the Scriptures, service to the needy, and participation and involvement in the activities of the Church and in the celebration of the Sacraments.
Our joy in relationship comes from God, and the more we persevere in friendship with Him, the more He will continue His work of salvation in us. Today we thank the Lord for families that mirror the love of Jesus for His Church. We promise to remain faithful to Him and to live as obedient children of the Father; and we renew our commitment to be instruments of the great love the Eucharist proclaims for the life of the world.
God bless you all.