Fr. Ben’s homily for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
HOMILY Theme: THE TWO MUST BECOME ONE!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Sunday October 3 2021
*Gen 2 : 18 – 24, Heb 2 : 9 – 11, Mk 10 : 2 – 16.
In today’s 1st reading, the writer of the book of Genesis states that no helpmate was found suitable for man’s happiness among all creatures of God; no other pleasures, no other business, no other intellectual preoccupation (even those who try to be sapiosexual) could make man happy until God made Adam sleep. He performed an ‘ontological surgery’ that made Adam come out of the theatre with a serious sexual need; and alas, the woman was ready made to satisfy his desires. After a deep weary sleep, he exclaimed: ‘This at last is the bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!’ She was a hybrid creature; more beautifully and delicately made than the man with softer but livelier flesh and bones. Though looks physically weaker because she was taken from the man, yet stronger in so many areas especially in the regions of the psycho – spiritual.
B. THE PHYSIOLOGY OF MARRIAGE
The Word of God says that when man discovered this psycho – physiological affinity between him and the woman, things were never the same again. And that’s why a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife and 1 + 1 becomes 1. Friends, make no mistake about this: The scriptures have stated that ‘It is not good that man should be alone’. The man needs the woman and the woman needs the man even more for nature to be complete. It is the devil’s plan always to distort this ontological plan of God for man’s happiness and that is why the Church has brought out today’s readings to help us reflect on the purpose of God for marital unity and mankind’s overall happiness.
C. THE MORALITY OF MARRIAGE
Morality begins from man’s fear of God/ respect of certain rules and regulations in his expression of love for the opposite sex.
* I just came across a movie that made me understand Genesis 2 more deeply. It is actually a melo – tragic comedy where a prince and princess somehow found themselves alone in the jungle. The man must have lived there longer and gotten acquainted with the jungle life but the woman was a recent victim of inter tribal war that made her escape into the jungle. The woman taught the man so many things and finally helped him discover his sexuality and identity as a former Prince. They found their way back to normal city life where the challenge of morality and fidelity brought a new round of conflict and crises. The Princess had a fiancee before she met the man in the jungle and it became morally problematic for her to remain in love with her new friend when came out of the jungle. Finally, the law of morality prevailed and the new lover had to leave to find his own wife.
Immorality is sexual dishonesty and that is why sexual intercourse in human society is only permissible in the context of marriage. Christ insisted so much on upholding the primeval teaching of the book of Genesis that ‘the two must become one body’ that even back inside the house the disciples continued to question him about this. He didn’t mince words in warning them clearly that the man who divorces his wife and goes to another woman is guilty of adultery.
D. THE SPIRITUALITY OF MARRIAGE
Christ recommends the simplicity of children in today’s gospel as the true panacea for every spiritual challenge in life even the challenge of marital fidelity. Let me use the acronym OFFTR for the five most essential qualities of marital spirituality;
1. OPENNESS – Couples must try to tell themselves the whole truth.
2. FORGIVENESS – Couples must try to forgive all provocations.
3. FIDELITY – Couples must remain faithful to each other in good times and in bad.
4. TRUST – Couples must trust each other always.
5. ROMANCE – Couples must remain romantic towards each other till death do them apart.
The secret of success in marriage is the spirituality of ‘halfing’ – spouses don’t have to make independent and individualistic decisions anymore after marriage. The truth is that it is not 1+1 that remains 1 in marriage but 1/2 + 1/2 that gives us 1. Couples must see love as a submission of “my other half” to my “better half”.
The Church wants us to talk about the spirituality of marriage especially now that majority of Christians no longer like to attend wedding masses or marriage courses where the Word of God is supposed to address this all important sacrament/ ministry of life. A lot of harm is being done by the society’s promotion of immorality and infidelity in marriage; a lot of harm is being done to the children in the family after divorce and to the human psyche. The enemies of the Church have launched a severe war against marital spirituality in different societies and seem to be winning the battle; trying to destroy family peace through lust, materialism, homosexuality, negative feminism, multiplication of divorce channels, etc.
The primeval challenge of human sexual spirituality and morality is that ‘the two must become one’. Vima Dasan insists that ‘A happy marriage is a union of two good forgivers’. Failure to adhere to this injunction leads to nothing but “purgatory” on earth.
*Joke : A Bishop’s question to a nervous catechumen at confirmation and her reply : ‘Matrimony is a place where souls suffer for a while for their sins’.
‘A well founded marriage’ according to Fr Emma Onuh ‘is heaven begun on earth while a shattered marriage is hell on earth’. Why is it that people spend many years preparing for different professions in life but when it comes to the most important of all professions (marriage) they think they can do it in a matter of weeks or months.
Both marital and celibate life require serious moral and spiritual discipline. Do all in your power to remain faithful to your vocation. And in the event of a fall, do everything in your power also to return back to your covenant of love. Let me end with the following pieces of advice:
1. To Youths yet to marry; We enter marriage as adults (marriage is for grownups not for children) but succeed in it only with the disposition of little children (as mentioned in today’s gospel). Couples, don’t conclude that you love yourselves because you are attracted to yourselves now and rush to the altar. That feeling may soon change. Lust is not love.
2. To Celibates; It is not good for man to be alone. Even celibacy, looked at its face value, is an aberration. It only makes sense in the context of a higher motive of love and sacrifice, 1 Cor 7 : 1 – 28. And it even makes more sense when the principal motive of celibate sacrifice is to make one more available to preserve people’s marriages; not to destroy them! His grace is therefore enough for us.
3. To the married people; May Jesus who worked his first miracle, Jn 2 by saving people from embarrassment at a wedding ceremony, work the miracle of saving your marriage from embarrassment!
Happy Sunday dear friends!
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