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Sunday:       Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Date:         October 7, 2012
Year:         B
The readings: [Gen. 2:7ab, 8b, 18-24; Heb. 2:9-11; Mk. 10:2-16]
The message:  The Sacredness of the Sacrament of Marriage.
Prepared by:  Catholic Doors Ministry
Total words:  1452

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** The readings follow the sermon.

Good morning! Is everyone ready for a sermon on the Sacredness of the Sacrament of Marriage? Today, I am going to touch on the subject of marriage and divorce. Considering the high percentage of divorces throughout the world, this homily should be of great interest to everyone. It will provide you with the knowledge and understanding of what the Holy Bible tells us about the Sacrament of Marriage.

The Holy Catholic Church teaches us that the Sacrament of Marriage is an indissoluble union, contracted by mutual consent, between one man and one woman, in a lawful manner, by which they are obliged to live together all the days of their life.

Now, marriage is not something that was invented by man. Instituted by God Himself, it has been present since the dawn of history, since the creation of the first man and woman.

In the beginning, God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone." [Gen. 2:18] "So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of the ribs of Adam and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, 'This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.' Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh." [Gen. 2:21-5]

In marriage, the man and the woman become one. They belong to each other. The union between a man and a woman in the Sacrament of Marriage is compared to the union between Christ and the Church.

"Husbands must love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind - yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of the body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." [Mk. 10:6-8; Eph. 5:25-31]

"The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does." [1 Cor. 7:4] "The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband." [1 Cor. 7:3] In the Sacrament of Marriage, being one as Christ is one with the Church, perfect harmony must exist. Both parties, in the fullness of love, must give and take according to each other's pleasure. Neither one owns the other.

In their conjugal rights, they should "not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote themselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt them because of their lack of self-control." [1 Cor. 7:5]

"So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." [Mt. 19:6] Today, during the Gospel Reading, we heard Jesus say, "Whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery." [Mt. 19:9; Lk. 16:18]

What exactly does this passage mean? To fully understand it, in view of what the Gospel of Mark adds to the Word of the Lord, we come to the realization that Jesus was answering two questions. First of all, Jesus was saying that a man can only divorce his wife if she commits adultery. Secondly, if the man remarries another woman as a consequence of putting away his wife, he commits adultery. In other words, neither one of them are at liberty of getting married again.

On this subject, on behalf of God, St. Paul states, "To the married, I give this command - not I but the Lord - that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife." [1 Cor. 7:10-1]

As heard, from the early days of the Church, it was not recommended that one should divorce and get remarried because this contradicted the Sacredness of the Sacrament of Marriage that God had instituted on earth.

Now, some take this command very lightly. Regarding this, Saint Paul says, "Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity." [Eph. 4:17-9]

To divorce and remarry is to commit adultery! You may say, "What is the big deal about adultery. I know a lot of people who are doing it." What's the big deal? The big deal is that they who are living in adultery, none of them shall enter the Kingdom of God.

Who says so? St. Paul does! Listen to this passage from the Holy Bible. "Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God." [1 Cor. 6:9-10]

The same words are found in Galatians 5:19-21 where St. Paul says, I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do these things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In Hebrew 13:4, we read "Let marriage be held in honour by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers."

During today's Second Reading, we heard that the Lord Jesus was made lower than the angels so He may be crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. Christ died for us! He suffered for us! He did all this to bring us to glory, so we may obtain our salvation through Him.

In Christ, we are sanctified by the grace of the heavenly Father and the power of the Holy Spirit. Our sanctification unites us with our Sanctifier, the Lord Jesus. Our sanctification entitles us to be called brothers and sisters of Christ.

But this is only possible if we live by the Law, the Divine Law of love and holiness so the grace of God may continuously shine on us as we persevere in our pilgrimage on earth towards the eternal Kingdom that awaits those who will qualify to be adopted as the children of God.

My brothers and sisters, I expect that during the next few days, I will be hearing from some of you who will make an effort to prove to me that their marital separation or divorce was valid, their situation being an exceptional case. This is the common statement! I heard it before! All the other priests have heard it also! This is the common phrase that seeks to obtain mercy.

But the bottom line is that I, as a priest, as a servant of God, am obligated, for the salvation of your soul, to tell you the truth, even if the truth hurts. The Lord God does not approve of divorces! He does not approve of common-law relationships! And He does not approve of adultery! If you value your salvation, then change from your worldly way and embrace the spiritual way, the righteousness of God. Move out of your relationship before it eternally destroys you!

I wash my hands! I have spoken the Word of God. Now, it is up to you, those who offend the Lord God, to do as your free will decides, for better or worse. May the grace of God be with all of you as you seek to live by His Divine Will.


The readings...

[The readings were taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (C) 1989 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the United States of America.]
First Reading...

"The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him a helper as his partner." So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken."

Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh." [Gen. 2:7-8, 18-24]


Second Reading...

"We do indeed see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason he is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters." [Heb. 2:9-11]


Gospel Reading...

"Some Pharisees came, and to test Jesus, they asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?' Jesus answered them, 'What did Moses command you?' They said, 'Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.'

But Jesus said to them, 'Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female,' For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are not longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.'

Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. Jesus said to them, 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.'

People were bringing little children to him in order that Jesus might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, 'Let the little children come to me; do not stop them: for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.'

And Jesus took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them." [Mk. 10:2-16]





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