Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

27th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: JESUS' TEACHING ON MARRIAGE

Mk 10: 2-16

 

WE HAVE TO admit that married life is in a sad state nowadays. In some countries, divorce still remains illegal, but cases of espousal separations, for some reasons, are on the rise. According to some studies, one phenomenon which largely contributes to this is migration. Migration, on the one hand, has helped the finances in the family, and the country’s economy as well. But, on the other hand, it has brought bad effects to some families, in terms of marital relationship. Some have fallen to marital infidelities.

The teaching of Jesus about marriage remains in force. Now, let us try to reflect on this subject. Let us examine once again the words of Jesus in the gospel, and reflect on them:

Firstly, Jesus says that a man and his wife “shall become one flesh. So, they are no longer two, but one flesh.” Some people find it hard to understand the meaning of this phrase. It is impossible for the two persons to become one flesh. In fact, a man and his wife will always remain two ‘fleshes’. Let us take note that the unity desired here is the oneness of mind and heart. This does not happen overnight though. This takes a process. Once a man and a woman are bound in marriage, it is expected that their priority is now themselves. That means, other relationships, like friendships, become now secondary. Moreover, decision-making is one sphere in marital life that the oneness of mind and heart would be exercised.  

Secondly, Jesus says further, “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” For Jesus, marriage is sacred and indissoluble. And the Church also continues to teach the indissolubility of marriage. It is the intention of God that marital commitment is permanent. Some people don’t find this appealing. For them, a long-term or life-time commitment is not possible. In fact, in other countries, people are content with the so-called ‘partnership’. Partnership may be understood as a short-term commitment.  For some people, partnership is convenient. The moment comes when they are already fed up with each other, they would easily part ways.

In a Christian teaching, marriage is raised to a sacrament, that is, a sacrament of Christ’s fidelity to the Church. Thus, the faithfulness of a husband and a wife is a living sign of Christ’s fidelity. This is a sign that they show to their children and to the world. If husbands and wives remain faithful to each other, their children would believe in the sacrament of matrimony. The future of Christian marriage depends on how faithful husbands and wives are to each other.

Thirdly, one priest says that “a good marriage must be created”. Accordingly, it is not so much of finding the right person for him or for her. There are always problems that come on the way, but what is expected is the capacity to forgive and to forget. Moreover, the key to lasting relationship is love because it is love which binds the relationship for ever. But this love is to be understood in a proper way. This love finds its expression in a spouse’s ability to offer oneself to and for the other.

When a former American presidential couple celebrated its 35th wedding anniversary, both were interviewed by Barbara Walters in her television program. The tv host asked the couple what was their secret of long-lasting married life. The couple could not answer what was it, so, the host helped them: “Is it because the ratio of giving and taking of love is 50/50?” The wife disagreed. She said, “If there is a ratio of love, it must be 90/10. That is, 90% giving and only 10% receiving.” Love and love, without expecting much of the return for this love. Indeed, that is a key to a lifetime marital commitment. AMEN.


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