RESPECT LIFE AND FAMILY
What relationships need are hearts that can expand with love, growth, and to forgive.
On this "Respect Life" Sunday, how do we put it back together when it comes to our damaged social relationships? We live in a world with power struggles. Without such struggles, we wouldn't have the present moral dilemmas about caring for our aging members, or valuing of the unborn. We also would not have today's moral dilemmas about giving the rightful place to those who are mentally and physically different, understanding the rights of those persons who are undocumented, and understanding our responsibilities toward the economically disadvantaged. And to add to all this - here is the big question: What do you think God intended Christian families to be? These are tough questions, but when we think about it, we are all members of a family - we have to go back to the beginning, to the issue of complementarity.
Our first reading tells us one story of the creation of Eve. Adam was alone and God knew it was "not good for the man to be alone." So God took one of Adam's ribs and fashioned it into a woman, a creation that was at last right for the man - bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. Notice that God did not make the woman from part of Adam's head or feet, but from a rib which comes from near his heart. She stands out as both equal and complementary. And the two become one flesh.
In today's Gospel: The Pharisees come to ask Jesus another question with a hidden agenda of course. "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?" Once again Jesus aligns himself with Moses and replies: "What did Moses command you?" And they reply: "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." Jesus agrees but with a straight forward comment: "Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment." The key here is the hardness of heart. What does that mean? If a heart is hard, it cannot expand. It cannot grow, nor can it love. It is paralyzed. What relationships need are hearts that can expand with love, growth, and to forgive. We need hearts that can be renewed and converted.
Jesus Christ goes on to demonstrate what he means when the people bring their children to him. "He said, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." The Jesus embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them. Jesus turns no one away. His love is for everyone especially for the children. This is a good example for all of us since it in in the context of family where we learn to love and where we teach our children to love. Families are the primary learning source for children. Such is our responsibility.
Points to Pray and Ponder: Saint Catherine of Siena wrote this: Your Son went down from the heights of his divinity to the depths of our humanity. Can anyone's heart remain closed and hardened after this? Today is also the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. You know how much he loved all of God's creation. Are we good Stewards?
Respect all Life and Family!