Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What God has joined together.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 27th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
4th October 2015
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

FIRST READING: Genesis 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.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM : Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
R. (cf. 5) 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.
R. 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.
R. 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.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
May you see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel!
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

SECOND READING: Hebrews 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.”

Gospel Acclamation:1 Jn 4:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If we love one another, God remains in us
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GOSPEL :Mark 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/ Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


The Gospel for this Sunday presents us a very sensitive and controversial issue i.e Divorce. In today's Gospel text the Pharisees approached Jesus to challenge him concerning the issue about divorce. They asked our Lord , "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" The issue about divorce is obviously one of the most controversial topics during Jesus' time. In fact, St John the Baptist literally lost his head when he condemned King Herod for taking his brother's wife. And undoubtedly, it still is as controversial as ever even to this date. Many people are having difficulties accepting the Theology about divorce , and therefore , we deal with this issue with sensitivity and care. But in the end, whether we agree or not our Lord made a clear and firm stance.Jesus never water down his message. It is not in the will of God for a marriage to end up in divorce. Marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman and God wills it to last a lifetime. "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." Then Jesus further said, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." It was indeed strong words from our Lord Jesus himself. Does that mean that Jesus hates those who are divorced? I understand that we have members of the Church who went into this process, some couples are separated and there are those who are civilly married. Does Jesus condemn those people? Not at all! I think Jesus deals with them with compassion, healing, acceptance, forgiveness and love.It is demonstrated on how he dealt with the woman caught in adultery , the same as in the case of the woman at the well. More than anything else our Lord Jesus made more emphasis on the truth about mercy, forgiveness and love.
The ideal is for the married couple to remain faithful until death.. The truth is, not all marriages last until death. Husbands and wives commit mistakes. Nobody's perfect, so to speak. Many couples break apart. Relationships fall apart. So the question is - Is there life after divorce? Absolutely , there is life after divorce. We don't want to see people living miserably. The issue with regards divorce has become a very touchy subject even in the central government of the Church.The good news is that, our pope, Pope Francis and the like minded people around him are determine to find pastoral approach in dealing with this most important issue. This is in line with the Pope's vision of making the Church an instrument of God's mercy and compassion.

It takes a lot of hard work to make marriage really work. Pope Francis said, "Married life must be persevering , because , otherwise love cannot go forward. Perseverance in love, in good times and in difficult times, when there are problems perseveres."

Story (Jack McArdle) : A tough battle axe of a wife was seeking advice from the marriage counsellor. "I hate my husband," she began. "He's making my life a hell on earth. I want a divorce and I want to make things as tough as possible for him."

The counsellor advised, "Begin by showering him with compliments, indulge his every whim. Then when he realizes how much he needs you and wants you, start your divorce proceedings."

Six months later the counsellor met the woman and asked, "When are you going to file your divorce papers?"
"Are you out of your mind?" replied the woman indignantly, "We are divinely happy!"

When two people make a vow to love each other and be with each other all the days of their lives, it is a sacred vow. It is a covenant between two people. It is even more beautiful because it is a sacrament. It is not just husband and wife making covenant with each other in marriage, but it is husband and wife making a covenant to each other with Jesus in marriage. The secret therefore of a lasting marriage is to make Jesus the center of married couples lives.


Monday, October 5, 2015

SCIP on Vietnam

Every summer, CBCP- ECCE host the Summer Catechetical Institute for Priest to foster the love of catechism among the priest and to instruct pertinent materials for the enhancement of catechetical instruction among the ministers involve in catechesis, Last Summer, the Summer Catechetical Institute for Priest (SCIP) was held in Vietnam. An attempt to understand also the initiatives of other cultures and nationalities in proclaiming the Word of God in their unique environment and struggles. 

The topic of this year's SCIP was Living the Joy of the Gospel. The Church in Dialogue. The video of the talks during the said seminars can be accessed in my YouTube account frjess.

Though it was only the second time that I left the country, both Asian countries and for seminars. As I remember the experience, there are things I would like to share:

1. Vietnamese people east of less oil and more of herbs.
2. The persecuted Church is supported by the Vietnamese Catholics outside the country
3. There is no Catholic Schools but the parishes develop a special catechetical instructions in every parishes.
4. Catechetical Instructions are given after school hours twice a week for three years for those who would be prepared for the reception of the sacrament of Holy Communion, another three years for those who will be confirmed and three years for those who will be help to decide what vocations they will take.
5. The catechists are all volunters.
6. Though Catholics is of minority, Vietnam is ripe for reaping for priests and nuns. Seminaries are full of seminarians, There is a seminary we visited that has 500 seminarians, three hundred on philosophy and two hundred in theology departments.
7. They have a very fast internet compared to us.


No to Reproductive Health Bill