For Better or For Worse

Sunday October 3, 2021,   27th Sunday Ordinary time (Cycle B)

The tie between today’s readings: Who do you love?

Genesis 2:18-24Psalm 128: 1-6Hebrews 2:9-11Mark 10:2-16

 Love is the glue that holds all relationships together. God is all about relationships. In the midst of Paradise, loneliness marred the creation.  Why?  Man was made in the image of God and God is love. Adam was to love too, but there was nothing in the Garden for him to bond with. The orangutan wasn’t going to cut it; Adam needed a valentine. The Lord took a rib from Adam’s side, made a woman and gave her to him. Adam recognized her as, “Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”, which translates into: WOW!!! They were naked and not ashamed; it was all so beautiful. Until they ate the apple and the world turned upside down. Love degraded into selfishness and when God asked them about the tree incident, Adam threw his beloved under the bus. It’s been that way ever since.

In today’s gospel (Mark 10:2-16), Jesus takes the Pharisees to school over a divorce question. In the process, He adds a new reason to stay together: “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” It takes time for the two of you to really become one. You have to give up what you want to blend with the other. It’s not easy, but there is a God dimension to a marriage. You made your promises of love to each other, in the sight of the Lord, until death. God commits to that. He will help you as you push through the problems to reach the blessings. That is another reason why God hates divorce. It cheats you out of the rewards of a life well lived that were waiting for you if you only had the faith, the altruism, and the resolve to get there. The three of you make an unbeatable team, but you’ll never know it if you quit. I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for thirty-eight years this week. I don’t love her the same way that I did when we first got married. The love I have for her has matured though the difficulties of life and has gotten better by far. It’s worth it! Hang in there!

Mark 10 also shows us that children reveal a lot about ourselves. To the Apostles, they were bothersome, disruptive, needy little urchins that get in the way. This shows a selfish attitude common to all of us. Jesus rebukes them for their mind-set and saw the same children as trusting, hopeful, and unpretentious free spirits who, despite all the things they could be doing, wanted to be with Him. At any given moment in time, we can be either like the Apostles or like Jesus. Children are a mirror to our own souls. They push our buttons and what comes of it speaks to the kind of person we really are inside.  Many times, when the kids were growing up, after an encounter of sorts with them, I would ask God, “Do I treat YOU like that?” Often, I would get an answer, “As a matter of fact…” I would have to change my ways after that and every once in a while, even come up with an apology to them. They have helped me get closer to God and perhaps even become a better person. Children truly are a blessing.

Families are complicated. But in the end, it all comes down to what kind of person you want to be. Self-centered people are toxic. They like running credit card relationships: Take what you want from others up front, bolt when it gets difficult, and stick them with the emotional bill. Half of the couples split up now- a-days. I believe it is because they came together with a naive credit card mentality along with a flawed concept of love. We need to squash this trait in ourselves. Foster love. Blessings come hard. They are paid for upfront with sacrifice and an eye toward the future. But you are not alone. The Almighty is committed to your endeavor. He will give you the grace you need to do the things you need to do. Take up your cross for love’s sake and grow more into the image of Jesus Christ, the greatest lover of all. Fear God and walk in His ways toward your happy ending (Psalm 128).  

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