Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – B

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“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

PRAYER OF THE WEEK

A Marriage Blessing Prayer

We thank you, O God, for the Love You have implanted in our hearts. May it always inspire us to be kind in our words, considerate of feeling, and concerned for each other’s needs and wishes. Help us to be understanding and forgiving of human weaknesses and failings. Increase our faith and trust in You and may Your Prudence guide our life and love. Bless our Marriage O God, with Peace and Happiness, and make our love fruitful for Your glory and our Joy both here and in eternity.

COLLECT

Almighty ever-living God,

who in the abundance of your kindness

surpass the merits and the desires of those

who entreat you,

pour out your mercy upon us

to pardon what conscience dreads

and to give what prayer does not dare to ask.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

READING I

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Gn 2:18-24

The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone.

I will make a suitable partner for him.”

So the LORD God formed out of the ground

various wild animals and various birds of the air,

and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them;

whatever the man called each of them would be its name.

The man gave names to all the cattle,

all the birds of the air, and all wild animals;

but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.

So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man,

and while he was asleep,

he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.

The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib

that he had taken from the man.

When he brought her to the man, the man said:

“This one, at last, is bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

this one shall be called ‘woman, ‘

for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”

That is why a man leaves his father and mother

and clings to his wife,

and the two of them become one flesh.

The word of the Lord.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 343 Man is the summit of the Creator’s work, as the inspired account expresses by clearly distinguishing the creation of man from that of the other creatures.1

CCC 369 Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. “Being man” or “being woman” is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator.2 Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity “in the image of God”. In their “being-man” and “being-woman”, they reflect the Creator’s wisdom and goodness.

CCC 371 God created man and woman together and willed each for the other. The Word of God gives us to understand this through various features of the sacred text. “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him.”3 None of the animals can be man’s partner.4 The woman God “fashions” from the man’s rib and brings to him elicits on the man’s part a cry of wonder, an exclamation of love and communion: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”5 Man discovers woman as another “I”, sharing the same humanity.

CCC 372 Man and woman were made “for each other” – not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be “helpmate” to the other, for they are equal as persons (“bone of my bones. ..”) and complementary as masculine and feminine. In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming “one flesh”,6 they can transmit human life: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”7 By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents cooperate in a unique way in the Creator’s work.8

CCC 1605 Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: “It is not good that the man should be alone.”9 The woman, “flesh of his flesh,” his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a “helpmate”; she thus represents God from whom comes our help.10 “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”11 The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been “in the beginning”: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”12

CCC 1607 According to faith the disorder we notice so painfully does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relations, but from sin. As a

break with God, the first sin had for its first consequence the rupture of the original communion between man and woman. Their relations were distorted by mutual recriminations;13 their mutual attraction, the Creator’s own gift, changed into a relationship of domination and lust;14 and the beautiful vocation of man and woman to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth was burdened by the pain of childbirth and the toil of work.15

CCC 1616 This is what the Apostle Paul makes clear when he says: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her,” adding at once: “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.”16

CCC 1625 The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent; “to be free” means:

– not being under constraint;

– not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law.

CCC 1644 The love of the spouses requires, of its very nature, the unity and indissolubility of the spouses’ community of persons, which embraces their entire life: “so they are no longer two, but one flesh.”17 They “are called to grow continually in their communion through day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving.”18 This human communion is confirmed, purified, and completed by communion in Jesus Christ, given through the sacrament of Matrimony. It is deepened by lives of the common faith and by the Eucharist received together.

CCC 1652 “By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory.”19

Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: “It is not good that man should be alone,” and “from the beginning [he] made them male and female”; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: “Be fruitful and multiply.” Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.20

CCC 2335 Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator’s generosity and fecundity: “Therefore a man

leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”21

All human generations proceed from this union.22

CCC 2417 God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image.23 Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

1 Cf. Gen 1-26.

2 Cf. Gen 2:7, 22.

3 Gen 2:18.

4 Gen 2:19-20.

5 Gen 2:23.

6 Gen 2:24.

7 Gen 1:28.

8 Cf. GS 50 # 1.

9 Gen 2:18.

10 Cf. Gen 2:18-25.

11 Gen 2:24.

12 Mt 19:6.

13 Cf. Gen 3:12.

14 Cf. Gen 2:22; 3:16b.

15 Cf. Gen 1:28; 3:16-19.

16 Eph 5:25-26, 31-32; Cf. Gen 2:24.

17 Mt 19:6; cf. Gen 2:24.

18 FC 19.

19 GS 48 # 1; 50.

20 GS 50 # 1; cf. Gen 2:18; Mt 19:4; Gen 1:28.

21 Gen 2:24.

22 Cf. Gen 4:1-2, 25-26; 5:1.

23 Cf. Gen 2:19-20; 9:1-4.

APPLICATION

Although polygamy, that is one man with many wives, and divorce were widely practiced not alone among their pagan neighbors but also among the Israelites themselves. When the Yahwistic writer composed this source of Genesis, the author courageously expressed the will and intention of God in this regard. God intended woman to be man’s helper and mate for life; she was not his slave or chattel. She was his equal and had a right to be treated as an equal. One of the many evil effects of polygamy and divorce was and is the lowering of the status of woman. Where polygamy is practiced, each wife is but a special slave in the household. She is a chattel which her lord can use when it suits him, but she has no claim on him. However, that one evil has disappeared “officially” from our Western world, but the worse evil of divorce, instead of disappearing, is on the increase.

Here again it is the woman who is humiliated, and sad to say there are women who agree to and encourage this humiliation of their own sex. Apart from the humiliation of woman there is a worse effect of divorce–it is a violation of God’s law, as is clearly revealed to us in the text from Genesis that we have read; this text is again confirmed by Christ in today’s Gospel. God created human nature in two sexes so that one would be a complement of the other and together they were given the power to reproduce themselves and thus continue the human race on earth. To do this–to procreate children and to educate them, is a life-long task and demands the greatest cooperation between husband and wife. Their task is no easy one, difficulties and differences of opinion can and do often arise; but it was God himself who gave married couples this vocation and with it he gives many consolations and moments of deep happiness and contentment as well.

Added to these divine blessings and to fulfill their duties, Christians have the graces of the sacrament which Christ instituted to help those who marry. Not only is their union blessed by God on the day of their marriage but the grace of the sacrament remains with them to aid them all through their married lives. Yet, there are many Christian nations today which have made laws permitting the dissolution of a valid marriage, and there are Christians who avail themselves of this legal loophole to get rid of the partner they took for life. They often enter a new matrimonial bond which not only has not the blessing of God but is directly against his will–as revealed in both the Old and New Testaments.

The nations who have passed this law which directly contravenes the law of the Creator, and the people who avail themselves of such a law are Christian only in name. Their outlook is purely and exclusively worldly, selfishness plays a leading part in their decision. They feel that all crosses must be removed from their paths, they do not wish to climb any Calvary.

Alone among the Christian communities the Catholic Church has stood firm against the violation of God’s law in this matter of divorce, and firm, please God, it will continue to stand. Even among Catholics today, there are isolated voices raised here and there in favor of a relaxation of the indissolubility of marriage. The reasons they bring forward are humane–or is it humanist?  They know of husbands and wives who are incompatible with each other, who are continually quarreling; would they not be better off materially and spiritually if they were separated?  They can be separated, for the Church allows separation where things have become well-nigh impossible, and they may remain apart until peace descends once more upon them, as it often does.

However, this is not what our advocates of a relaxation of the laws of marriage want. They would go as far as allowing the separated partners to undertake a new union wherein they would each find a new happiness.  Would they find that happiness?  The history of the past few decades in the nations where the civil power allows divorce, with re-marriage, would seem to prove the opposite.  No, the Christian who violates the law of God for his own selfish happiness is not likely to get happiness in a new marriage venture nor can he hope to earn eternal happiness.

To our faithful husbands and wives I would say:  continue in your fidelity. You have many trials and troubles, but they are the new crosses that will raise you up and keep you near God. Be quick to forgive and ever ready to forget. Even though one may be right in a row, let one not be too proud to be first to break the ice and reopen relations. Your marriage partner may not be an angel, but he or she is a saint in the making, and you are doing your part to make him or her just that. You, too, are on the road to heaven; you will kick some hard stones and hurt your toes many times during your journey, but when you see your reward you will realize how little you have done and how

unprofitable a servant you have been.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6

May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Blessed are you who fear the LORD,

who walk in his ways!

For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;

blessed shall you be, and favored.

May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine

in the recesses of your home;

your children like olive plants

around your table.

May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Behold, thus is the man blessed

who fears the LORD.

The LORD bless you from Zion:

may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem

all the days of your life.

May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

May you see your children’s children.

Peace be upon Israel!

May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

READING II

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Heb 2:9-11

Brothers and sisters:

He “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels, ”

that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting that he,

for whom and through whom all things exist,

in bringing many children to glory,

should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.

He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated

all have one origin.

Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them ‘brothers.’

The word of the Lord.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 624 “By the grace of God” Jesus tasted death “for every one”.1 In his plan of salvation, God ordained that his Son should not only “die for our sins”2 but should also “taste death”, experience the condition of death, the separation of his soul from his body, between the time he expired on the cross and the time he was raised from the dead. The state of the dead Christ is the mystery of the tomb and the descent into hell. It is the mystery of Holy Saturday, when Christ, lying in the tomb,3 reveals God’s great sabbath rest4 after the fulfillment5 of man’s salvation, which brings peace to the whole universe.6

1 Heb 2:9.

2 I Cor 15:3.

3 Cf. Jn 19:42.

4 Cf. Heb 4:7-9.

5 Cf. Jn 19:30.

6 Cf Col 1: 18-20.

APPLICATION

The inspired author of this epistle sets out to strengthen the faith of his readers who had become lax in the practice of their faith (see 10: 24). He recalls to their minds that Christ is high priest who has entered into the holy of holies–heaven–to make atonement for the sins of mankind, offering to God not the blood of sacrificed animals but his own precious blood which he shed for mankind on Calvary. He does not enter into heaven alone; he enters rather as the pioneer, the leader of all the faithful ones who will follow him here on earth. He is God’s own Son through whom the universe was created. He is, therefore, immeasurably above the angels. He condescended to become lower than they by taking our ordinary humanity here on earth. And this he did for love of us, to make us his brothers and heirs to heaven. He “tasted death” for all of us. Because of this, death can no longer hold us in its grip: we too shall rise from the dead as Christ did and we shall enter into the glory of heaven if we remain his faithful followers.

Surely, when a Christian realizes how much God has done for him in order to bring him to the eternal happiness of heaven, he cannot and should not find it too difficult to carry some few crosses in life. The author of this letter to the Hebrews compares our Christian life to a pilgrimage, to the heavenly sanctuary (4: 16; 12: 22). In days gone by, making a pilgrimage to some far-off shrine implied a willingness to make many sacrifices–but the thought of seeing the sacred place and kneeling in prayer there made the difficulties of the journey seem as nothing. Let us meditate more often on heaven. We too can make light of the hardships of the earthly journey.

If those in the past who have failed to merit heaven were given a second chance, do we think for a moment that they would let the difficulties and trials of life prevent them from reaching their eternal home? How gladly would they snatch up the crosses which perhaps we are throwing down? How cheerfully would they not forego the illicit pleasures of life, and how quickly would they not turn their backs on the treasures of this world, for now they see the full meaning of that warning: “what does it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his (eternal) life?”

When tempted by our passions or by greed or by our pride and selfishness, let us look ahead and see ourselves at the judgement seat of God. It will help to cast these temptations far from us. I should imagine that the greatest shock those who are lost will get on their judgement day will be to realize the folly which moved them to exchange the eternity of happiness offered them for the empty baubles, the nothingness of this world’s pleasures and gains. If one had all the possible pleasures of this life and never a pain or ache or sorrow of any kind, and had all the gold in Fort Knox he still would have to leave them all at death. What then?

The Son of God came on earth, emptied himself of his divine glory and lived a life of poverty and hardship among us. He let himself be put to death—the shameful death of a criminal and outcast–so that we could merit heaven. In order to reap the great, almost incredible, reward which he won for us, we are asked merely to accept the crosses life brings us and to plod along cheerfully on the road mapped out for us by our loving Lord. He has opened heaven for us, he has shown us the way there; he has left us all the aids we need on our journey. He cannot force our free will, but is there a sane man or woman with such disdain for his or her own true interest as to refuse to follow him on the Christian road to eternal happiness? May God grant us all the grace to avoid such extreme folly!

GOSPEL

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Mk 10:2-16

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,

“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”

They were testing him.

He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”

They replied,

“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce

and dismiss her.”

But Jesus told them,

“Because of the hardness of your hearts

he wrote you this commandment.

But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother

and be joined to his wife,

and the two shall become one flesh.

So they are no longer two but one flesh.

Therefore what God has joined together,

no human being must separate.”

In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.

He said to them,

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another

commits adultery against her;

and if she divorces her husband and marries another,

she commits adultery.”

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,

but the disciples rebuked them.

When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,

“Let the children come to me;

do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to

such as these.

Amen, I say to you,

whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child

will not enter it.”

Then he embraced them and blessed them,

placing his hands on them.

The Gospel of the Lord.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 699 The hand. Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them.1 In his name the apostles will do the same.2 Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles’ imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given.3 The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of hands among the “fundamental elements” of its teaching.4 The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epicleses.

CCC 1244 First Holy Communion. Having become a child of God clothed with the wedding garment, the neophyte is admitted “to the marriage supper of the Lamb”5 and receives the food of the new life, the body and blood of Christ. The Eastern Churches maintain a lively awareness of the unity of Christian initiation by giving Holy Communion to all the newly baptized and confirmed, even little children, recalling the Lord’s words: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them.”6 The Latin Church, which reserves admission to Holy Communion to those who have attained the age of reason, expresses the orientation of Baptism to the Eucharist by having the newly baptized child brought to the altar for the praying of the Our Father.

CCC 1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,”7 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

CCC 1625 The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent; “to be free” means:

– not being under constraint;

– not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law.

 

CCC 1639 The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself.8 From their covenant arises “an institution, confirmed by the divine law,. .. even in the eyes of society.”9 The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God’s covenant with man: “Authentic married love is caught up into divine love.”10

CCC 1650 Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ –

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery”11 the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.

CCC 2364 The married couple forms “the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable personal consent.”12 Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble.13 “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”14

CCC 2380 Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations – even transient ones – they commit adultery. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire.15 The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery absolutely.16 The prophets denounce the gravity of adultery; they see it as an image of the sin of idolatry.17

CCC 2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble.18 He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law.19

Between the baptized, “a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death.”20

1 Cf. Mk 6:5; 8:23; 10:16.

2 Cf. Mk 16:18; Acts 5:12; 14:3.

3 Cf. Acts 8:17-19; 13:3; 19:6.

4 Cf. Heb 6:2.

5 Rev 19:9.

6 Mk 10 14.

7 Mk 10 14; cf. 1 Tim 2:4.

8 Cf. Mk 10:9.

9 GS 48 # 1.

10 GS 48 # 2.

11 Mk 10:11-12.

12 GS 48 # 1.

13 Cf. CIC, can. 1056.

14 Mk 109; cf. Mt 19:1-12; 1 Cor 7: 10-11.

15 Cf. Mt 5:27-28.

16 Cf. Mt 5:32; 19:6; Mk 10:11; 1 Cor 6:9-10.

17 Cf. Hos 2:7; Jer 5:7; 13:27.

18 Cf. Mt 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mk 10 9; Lk 16:18; 1 Cor 7:10-ll.

19 Cf. Mt 19:7-9.

20 CIC, can. 1141.

APPLICATION

On the “divorce” section of this Gospel see today’s first reading. Christ clearly states that from the very beginning, God’s plan for marriage was that it should be a life-long unity of one man and one woman. Its purpose is the procreation of children and their education, as well as the mutual love and fulfillment of the husband and wife. These demand this life-long bond. Divorce, which tries to break this bond, breaks the law of the Creator who decreed what was best for the temporal and spiritual welfare of the human race.

The last four verses of today’s Gospel describe an incident which is in no way connected with the previous discussion but which has a very useful lesson for all Christians. It describes Christ’s love for children and while manifesting this love he stresses the need

for all his true followers to be childlike.  “I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  To receive the kingdom of God is to accept the teaching of Christ and live according to it in his kingdom on earth. He who does this will enter, after death, into the eternal kingdom of heaven. Christ says, however, that we must accept “like a child”: his kingdom on earth, his teaching and the Church he founded to carry on that teaching. It does not mean: in a childish way, an unthinking, uneducated way, but in a child-like way–a humble, grateful, receptive way. A child is unselfconscious, content to be dependent on others’ care and generosity. Christianity is a gift of the generous God to us, we have done nothing and never could do anything to merit it.  We must accept it simply and gratefully as a gift; we could never deserve it.

While Christianity is a religion of reason and conforms in all its aspects to the rational nature of man–its basis is the revelation of God who is the author and foundation of all rationality–yet it is the heart of man rather than his intellect which Christ means to capture. The assent of the intellect to the doctrine revealed by Christ is not sufficient of itself for a Christian to earn the eternal kingdom; faith is the total acceptance and commitment of the believer to God through Jesus Christ. The man of true faith commits himself to God with a filial childlike trust, assured that if he does all that in him lies God will do the rest.

Therefore, our Christian faith must be childlike, a trusting, humble and obedient faith. This is the kind of faith that will move mountains–the mountains that loom so large in the vision of too many Christians today–the mountains of doubt, selfishness, unwillingness to be subjected to authority.  Christ asks us, if we would be his followers: to take up our daily cross and climb the way to Calvary after him. This daily cross is made of the troubles and trials of life from which no one can escape.  They can be borne with reluctance and grumbling, or they can be accepted as the loving God’s means of training us for the future life.  Every true Christian accepts his trials in the latter way, for if he is true to his faith he knows that his years on earth are his apprenticeship to prepare him for his eternal life.

God is surely not asking too much of us when he asks us to live our Christian faith in childlike humility, candor and confidence during the days of our pilgrimage on this earth.

Applications written by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan and used with permission of Ignatius Press.

BENEDICTUS

The Bond of Marriage

The question of the right relationship between man and woman sinks its roots in the most profound essence of the human being, and can only find its answer in the latter.  It cannot be separated from the always ancient and always new question of man about himself: Who am I?  Does God exist?  And, who is God?  What is his face really like?  The Bible’s answer to these questions is unitary and consequential:  Man is created in the image and likeness of God, and God himself is love.  For this reason, the vocation to love is what makes man the authentic image of God:  He becomes like God in the measure that he becomes someone who lives.  From this fundamental bond between God and man another is derived:  The indissoluble bond between spirit and body.  Man is, in fact, soul that expresses itself in the body and [the] body that is vivified by an immortal spirit.  Also, the body of man and of woman has, therefore, so to speak, a theological character, it is not simply body, and what is biological in man is not only biological, but an expression and fulfillment of our humanity…  In this way, from the two bonds, that of man with God and – in man – that of the body with the spirit, arises a third bond:  the one that exists between person and institution.  The totality of man includes the dimension of time, and man’s “yes” goes beyond the present moment:  In his totality, the “yes” means “always,” it constitutes the area of fidelity.  Only in his interior can this faith grow which gives a future and allows the children, the fruit of love, to believe in man and in his future in difficult times.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

CLOSING PRAYER

Prayer of Spouses

O Lord, holy Father, omnipotent and eternal God, we give you thanks and we bless your holy name. You created man and woman in your image and blessed their union, so that each would be for the other a help and support. Remember us today. Protect us and grant that our love may be in the image of the devotion and love of Christ for his Church. Grant us a long and fruitful life together, in joy and in peace, so that, through your Son and in the Holy Spirit, our hearts may always rise to you in praise and goods works.

Amen.

 

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About Benedicamus Domino

Let Us Bless The Lord - A Benedictine oblate's weekly study of the Catholic Church's Sunday Sacred Liturgy. I hope that families and friends will benefit from this as a prayerful way to prepare and actively participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
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