Adam and Eve (not Steve)
03 October 2021, 27th Sunday in the Ordinary Time
Mk 10: 2-16
On August 17, 2021, the Philippine government announced that a bill proposing the legalization of divorce in the Philippines had been approved by the Committee on Population and Family Relations of the House of Representatives. Is divorce the only solution to married couples who are struggling? In upholding the sanctity of marriage, the Church is oftentimes criticized as too traditional, too slow and so outdated. There are only two countries that do not legalize divorce: the Philippines and the Vatican. Many say that since majority of the states all over the world have legalized divorce, the Philippines must follow the fad. But does having the majority imply that they’ve got morality?
Today, we are invited by the Church to listen to Jesus. Now we ask: Is divorce part of God’s plan? The 1st Reading and the Gospel tell us that divorce has no room in God’s plan. Why? It is because the Sacrament of Marriage is rooted in God who is (1) love, (2) unity and (3) grace.
First, God is love. This very nature of God is shared among us. The human person longs for two basic needs: to love and to be loved. In the 1st Reading, Adam was looking not only for complementarity but above all for completion. God felt this need in Adam. Because God loved Adam, He gave him Eve (not Steve). The love that Adam experienced with God, he shared it with Eve, and vice-versa. This love is not just between the Man and the Woman. God is in the hearts of Adam and Eve.
The love of our 1st parents is not just human. It is divine because the author of life is the God of love. Love is not just a charged emotion. Love is doing good so that our beloved would become better and even the best version of oneself. Now a days, love is a word that is misused and abused. Some call it stupid. Others simply downgrade it. But love can never be cheap because in eternity, its value is infinity. In solemnizing weddings, many ordained ministers would invite the couple to have a 3rd party in their relationship: God. But I would say, the love “in” Dodong and the love “in” Inday is not something, it is someone: God. Married couples, your first meeting is not just a serendipity. In eternity, you are loved by God. In time and in space, you are called to share that love. God is not the 3rd party in your marital relationship. God is the love in your hearts.
Second, God is one. When God joins together the man and the woman, God is revealing to them and to us: “Share in my life. Be one in mind and in heart. Seek what unites, not what divides”. Unity is God’s nature. If someone attempts to divide a couple, a family, a community, a society, that someone is a dia-bolo. The devil likes scandals because these are obstacles that divide the union in marriage and in family life. When divided, we are wounded, broken and traumatized. No marriages are perfect. Humanity is flawed. No families are perfect. We have defects. But instead of blaming, we better find ways and means to foster unity and harmony. How?
One, let our parish family ministry accompany those who want to embrace married life. Two, let faith-communities create formative programs that sustain the vocation and commitment of young married couples. Third, considering that some marriages are struggling, let the parish organize a support group that listens, assists and processes individuals. Let us not be harsh in judging. Care is better than cure. But if circumstances are difficult to bear, our faith in the Risen Christ impels us to be pro-active and constructive, all for the sake of being faithful and true to God who is not one but who is one with us.
Third, grace is God’s abiding presence. Married couples and families are graced in many ways. How can married couples and families see grace. St Ignatius of Loyola has a formula: find God in all. How?
First, look at one another as a gift. Kahlil Gibran says something profound about parenthood: “Children are not ‘from’ you; they come ‘through’ you. They are children of God.” Gifts are not to be used, misused and abused. Gifts are shared, are loved and are cared. If we live as gifts, we are humble. And the best way to be humble is to be thankful.
Second, listen with one’s heart. With what we know, we can easily judge. But when we learn to understand, we begin to love. We love to talk much just to let others know that we know. But there is much to learn when we begin by simply being quiet, by taking time to be with and by listening.
Third, go back to the basic: love. We demand others to love us. Like Michael Bolton says, we shout out: “I want to know what love is, I want you to show it. I wanna feel what love is, I want you to show it!” First love never dies. Whose love? My first girlfriend? Your first boyfriend? God has first loved us and He continues to do so. Yes, it is difficult to love. But loving in simple ways makes us faithful and true to our humanity. Love is not only what we do; love is who we are.
Thanks to our parents and married couples for revealing to us that God is love. If marriages and families are greatly challenged, let us call on God who is not only One but is one with us. In order to move forward, look, listen and love God’s graces.
If divorce is a fad, let us not be mad. Why? Marriage and family life are in the plan of God! Amen!
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