Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Homily for Sunday, October 8, 2006

Because I forgot to post my "Faith Seeking Understanding" today, and since tomorrow is my day off, I will post some of the thoughts from this Sunday's homily:

Today's readings (Gen 2:18-24 and Mk 10:2-16, in particular) read like they were chosen for a wedding Mass. It's appropriate therefore, to reflect on the meaning of Christian marriage, especially when Christ seems to hold up such a high standard in the Gospel.

First of all, it's clear that Marriage itself -- as an institution -- is under attack in our culture today. Maybe not explicitly, since we don't read editorials or books calling for the abolition of marriage. But implicitly, we live without understanding the necessity of faithful, stable marriages as the bedrock of our society.

Look around: divorce is the result (and it is a tragedy), but it begins even before we start thinking about the hazards of casual sexual encounters. We continually treat other human persons as things for our entertainment and gratification. Whether through contraception, homosexual activity, pornography, extramarital sex, premarital sex, adultery -- and all of these things promoted and encouraged by the media and entertainment industry -- we diminish the value of the human person.

Christ, however, comes to free us from the bondage of sin and death that comes from denying the "nuptial meaning" of the body. He tells the Pharisees, the Apostles, and us, that marriage is the permanent, lifelong, exclusive and fruitful union of one man and one woman. Sexual relations are meant for this union alone, and it is within marriage that sexual intimacy brings about the "one flesh" union spoken of in Genesis and quoted by our Lord.

God has inscribed within our very being "from the beginning" this "law of the gift" which means that each person is meant to be "for another." We can see it in the story of the creation of Eve, where Adam found completion in his human nature by giving of himself for his bride's very existence. So, too, in a similar image, when Christ in the sleep of death brought forth His bride, the Church, from his pierced side.

We have many resources to learn about what Pope John Paul II called the "Theology of the Body," and to fight back against our culture which continually wears away at the true meaning of life -- the meaning of the Cross. Read the Theology of the Body, recently retranslated and republished; or for an easier introduction, try Christopher West's books: Good News About Sex and Marriage, Theology of the Body for Beginners, or his talks available on his website. Another great resource is John Kippley's Marriage is for Keeps, which helps us understand what makes for a successful, happy, and lifelong marriage. Finally, Bishop Fulton Sheen wrote a marvelous book entitled Three to Get Married.

How do we individually fight the battle for marriage? It begins at home, by embracing the cross in our daily lives -- overcoming sin through the power of the Sacraments (Confession and the Eucharist) and dying to ourselves for our spouses and families. It seems simple, but the reality is that this is the greatest drama and most important challenge we will ever face.

Christ Himself strengthens us when He raises the bar for lifelong, faithful marriage; be confident that with His grace, nothing is impossible.