Thursday, October 1, 2009

"And the two shall become one flesh"

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (27B), October 4, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Is Divorce a sin?
FEATURED BLOG: Hints for Happy Marriages
PASTORAL HISPANA: El Matrimonio es una Alianza

Dear Friends,

In the Gospel this Sunday Jesus tells his listeners plainly that there is a truth and permanence in marriage and it was always meant to be that way. Our Discussion Questions this week can guide you during your Bible Study journey with your family, friends and church groups. Click here to join our Online Sunday Bible Study.

The Church has quite a lot to say on marriage because it is one of the most important foundation stones on which society is built. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB clarifies that no extension of terminology for legal purposes will ever change the observable reality that only the committed union of a man and a woman carries, not only the bond of interdependency between the two adults, but the capacity to bring forth children.

Equal Partners

Father Cusick says Christ's Gospel teaching this Sunday on the indissolubility of marriage stands and is built upon the truth that there is no such thing as marriage without the entire and sincere gift of self, man for woman and woman for man. Jesus is stating that both the man and woman must stay and make the marriage work despite difficulties. Fr. Alex McAllister says Jesus is squarely placing both marriage partners on an equal footing. It is this wonderful harmony, according to Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B., that Jesus refers to when He brings up the Genesis story of creation this Sunday.

A Tough But Loving God

Our Lord said it bluntly, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." Fr. Phil Bloom points out, that the Church rightfully does say, "No," to many practices even if they some of them are widely accepted in our society. But, she does so to say, "yes," to Jesus and, "yes," to the beautiful love he proposes.

The fact is Jesus often showed that people were more important than rules or laws. Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA explains how our Lord did not condemn the Samaritan woman who had had five husbands. Instead, Jesus forgives her. We are therefore not to judge those involved in sinful activity. Heaven knows that all of us - especially in today's society - have difficulty living Jesus' teaching on sexuality. So if you are divorced or if your mate and you don't get along, Fr. John Foley, SJ advises you to remember often the love that God has for you, and his very special interest in the relation of love he created you for.

Hints for Happy Marriages

A Marriage, after all, is for better or for worse. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino tells is that it is the one gift given by God before the fall which was not taken away by man’s sin. However, it does bring out either the best or the worst in us. Let's face it, relationships need maintenance to make it work.

Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS advises couples that opening themselves to listening to their partners In the midst of emotional meltdowns and misunderstandings is a vital step. The Lord had very good reasons for giving us two ears and one mouth. Fr. Michael Ryan agrees. In his "Hints for Happy Marriages," he advises married couples that their positive comments should outnumber their negative about 5 to 1. And you have to read "Partners and Marriage." Originally written by a young man as a college philosophy paper on marriage, it has become an inspirational internet sensation.

Some Burning Questions

This week we ask ask you to reflect on the core burning question: Is Divorce a sin according the Catholic Church? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio talks about marriage and family as he postulates this question, "Is annulment just a Catholic Divorce?" While Fr. Edward McNamara answers this question that's a sign of our times: Are civilly married couples considered cohabiting if not married in church?

And finally, Fr. Ron Rolheiser tells us that while at our core we all intuit the value of chastity, somehow the deep-down sense that something is not best for us doesn’t always make us resist temptation.

St. Francis of Assissi & Respect Life Sunday

Sunday, October 4 is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis’ is the saint of peace. His prayer is: “Make me an instrument of your peace.” We cheapen the memory of St. Francis by reducing him to the saint of animals. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio tells us that like St. Francis, we are all given the same gift of supernatural faith through Baptism. Some Christians choose to develop this muscle and some do not.

This Sunday is also Respect Life Sunday. the USCCB through Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia called attention to those who are most vulnerable in recent debates on health care reform – the unborn, the poor, the elderly and the immigrant. He also noted that "despite the opposition of 67% of Americans to taxpayer-funded abortion, all current health care proposals being considered by Congress would allow or mandate abortion funding, either through premiums paid into government programs or out of federal revenues."

Holiness is Still Relevant

From Czechoslovakia, Benedict XVI reflected on holiness this week asking, "Is holiness still relevant? Or is it now considered unattractive and unimportant?" He also told the youth of the world that that Christ wants to make them happy, and that his voice is not difficult to hear for those who have their hearts open.

Our Lady of the Rosary Feast is Oct. 7

The month of October is dedicated to the Rosary. And October 7 is the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. This feast was instituted by Pope St. Pius V in thanksgiving for the great 1570 naval victory in Lepanto that saved Europe from being overrun by the forces of Islam. We offer some suggestions on how to celebrate this feast.

There's a great video from Family Theater Productions called "Rosary Stars: Praying the Gospel." This DVD features several young adult celebrities reflecting on the power of Rosary. Check it out. And if you're all stressed out, try reciting a few decades of the rosary? Experts say repetitive prayers like the Rosary can actually help reset your stress thermostat.

"New Media at the service of the Word"

Pope Benedict expressed his hopes this week that the communications media will be a new way to bring Christ to the streets. The Holy Father urges priests to "consider the new media as a powerful resource for their ministry in the service of the Word." Fr. Tim Finigan calls this a very positive signal, an encouragement for Catholic bloggers, noting that there are already many good priests and lay people out there working hard to use the new media in the service of the gospel.

Floods & Earthquakes

It has been a most catastrophic week. First came the massive flooding in the Philippines, then the tsunami in the Samoas followed by the massive earthquake in Indonesia. So far 287 people are dead in Manila and over 670,000 are still living in rudimentary evacuation camps. Through all of this, another supertyphoon is poised to hit land today. Please send any relief donations through either Kerygma Families or the Ateneo University. Every little bit helps.

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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