Homily for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), October 7th, 2018:
Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 128:1-6; Hebrews 2:9-11; and Mark 10:2-16
By Father Scott Karnik
“The family that prays together, stays together.” That very wise adage from Father Patrick Peyton applies very much to today’s readings. In Genesis, we hear about the creation of Eve, the woman who is the best-suited helper of the man. God’s motive to create her is that “it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him”(Gen 2:18). God creates the woman for the man so that the two of them can enter into the sacrament of marriage. The end of this creation story proves it. The author establishes the dignity of the man and the woman in this story. “Dignity” is defined as “the quality or state of being esteemed, honored, or worthy.” This couple, one man and one woman, is totally unique to each other. The author of this story writes that the man is joyful at God’s creation of the woman. He is not alone anymore. The suitable partner has the same human nature that he does. They are united. God wills that the man and the woman enter into the sacrament of marriage. Notice that God puts the man into a deep sleep when He creates the woman. The man does not witness the mystery of God’s act of creation of another human being. God’s creation of another human being is a divine act. This is where abortion is most sinful. It destroys an act of divine creation by Almighty God Himself. God created the man and the woman and then blessed them to be fertile and multiply; to fill the earth and subdue it”(Gen 1:28). God creates a family. The family is the man and the woman in love and they have babies. This creation story explains a present reality. A man and a woman fall in love and marry. In Genesis 2:24, to “leave” and to “cleave” indicate a covenant. Therefore, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a sacrament and a covenantal relationship.
St. Mark writes in his gospel about Jesus’s attitude toward marriage and divorce. Jesus teaches that it is not permissible for the man and the woman to divorce. Other teachers did permit it. Jesus does not. Jesus uses Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 as the authority for His position. Jesus bans divorce. Then, Jesus privately tells His disciples that if a man or a woman should have to divorce their spouse, they cannot remarry without being considered an adulterer. The central message from St. Mark is Jesus’s challenge to husbands and wives to live in a faithful, fertile, holy, and perpetual union until death. To do so, requires prayer. It requires the husband and wife to remain in faithful contact with each other, with their children, and with God Himself. The man and the woman cannot do this alone. Father Patrick Peyton promoted the truth that “the family that prays together stays together.” He started a Family Rosary campaign that eventually led to a national radio program on which the Rosary was prayed. The danger of not praying together as a family is divorce and the cheapening of the sacrament of marriage.
This is important because the alternative to faith, family, and marriage is divorce, living together in sin, breakup, and abortion. These acts are promoted for the freedom they give. They do not provide freedom. They enslave. They enslave the man and the woman to their passions and selfishness. And then comes the critical question of how to deal with the consequence of that sinful union. The critical answer to that in this sinful world is abortion. The critical answer in this sinful world is divorce. They do not reinforce a family. They shatter it. Abortion is a satanic act which destroys God’s life-giving action. Abortion is a satanic act which destroys the life of a specific person that God wanted to place in this world, at this time, to perform a specific task to build God’s kingdom. Wherever abortion and divorce go, they leave destruction and death in their wake.
Jesus says that only a child-like trust will enable us to live up to His demands in the day-to-day relationships we have in families and elsewhere. We pray for grace from Jesus through His Blessed Mother by praying the Rosary, together, as a family. Jesus can keep families praying together and staying together. It is Jesus Christ’s forgiveness, love, and mercy that can reassemble lives shattered by abortion and divorce. He is eager and willing to forgive those who commit those sins. Jesus is one confession, Holy Mass, and Eucharist away.
So compare. Which world do you want to build? Is it the world of marriage, family, and children? Or is it the world of abortion and divorce? Which world do you want to live in? Which world do you want your children to live in? Which world do you want to leave for your grandchildren? The answer is clear on its face. It is the God-given world of one man and one woman in a family that prays together and stays together and has children. And with Jesus’s grace and our child-like trust in His teachings, that world can be revived quickly and powerfully.
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