FR. TOM'S HOMILY FOR THE 27th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, October 3, 2021:
A couple had been married for 60 years and had no secrets except one: The woman kept a shoe box in her closet that she forbade her husband from opening. But, when she was close to dying, she allowed him to open the box and he found a crocheted doll and $95,000 in cash. She explained, “My mother told me that the secret to a happy marriage was to never argue. Instead, I should keep quiet and just crochet a doll.” Her husband was touched. After 60 years of marriage, there was only one doll in the box. He asked, “So what about all this money?” “Oh,” she said, “that’s the money I made from selling the dolls.”
Today, our Scriptures speak powerfully of God’s hopes and dreams for the way we live with one another. We heard from Genesis, “It is not good for us to be alone.” Both Genesis and our passage from Mark’s Gospel invite us to reflect on the holiness that can be found in married life, and it is a holiness that we can extend to all of the relationships we experience in life.
This is a timely concern for us as we think of the ways that our world, our society are increasingly fractured. People get married later than ever today. The average age for a new couple today is 32. Fewer and fewer get married in the Church. Young people are increasingly likely to be disconnected from faith, from church, from community.
If entertainment is a reflection of culture, just take a look at some of the visions of married and family life we get from TV. There are a lot of reality TV shows that deal with marriage. There’s “Joe Millionaire” where women try and woo a man who they believe to be rich pursuing the relationship for money. There’s a show called “The Love Test” in which a couple purposely puts themselves in situations of temptation to see if their love will survive. “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” turn marriage into a competition. There’s “Cheaters” which turns a couple’s infidelity into entertainment. There are a lot of these shows. There’s “Who Wants to Marry My Dad,” “Married By America,” “Married At First Sight,” “Race to the Altar,” “Love Stories,” “Love Shack,” “Love Cruise,” and more than you can imagine. If these reflect our culture, what does that say about our view of the holiness of married life?
You see, there is something wrong with the way too many people in our world relate to one another today. We live in a world that is characterized by a profound lack of kindness, a lack of compassion for those in difficult situations, for those on the margins, a lack of care and joy. We increasingly fail to see ourselves as connected; as related; as concerned with and for one another. This all has an impact on our lives, on our families, on our church, and on our world.
To all of this God speaks some loving words to us today in Scripture. He says perhaps most profoundly, “It is not good to be alone.” He says, “The two shall become one.” What He says to us is essentially this – you are connected, you are related, you must care for one another. Care for those who are closest to you; care for those you don’t know. Care for those who are on the margins because of their poverty or homelessness or hunger or immigration status. Care even for those who are your enemies. Because God is our Father, we are all related. So, we need to see each other as brother and sister; as related and loved.
As part of the Synod on the Family a few years ago, Pope Francis said, “A Church which is family is able to show the closeness and love of a father…A Church of children who see themselves as brothers and sisters, will never end up considering anyone as a burden, a problem, an expense, a concern or a risk. Other people are a gift, and always remain so, even when they walk different paths. The Church is an open house hospitable in the simplicity of her members. That is why she can appeal to the longing for peace present in every man and woman, including those who – amid life’s trials – have wounded and suffering hearts. This Church can indeed light up the darkness felt by so many men and women.”
“It is not good for us to be alone.” This, my brothers and sisters, is God’s plan for each of us. Our good and loving God desires for us to be in a relationship first with Him – one that is built on faithfulness, holiness, goodness and care. And, He calls us to mirror those same things – life, love, fidelity, commitment and sacrifice – in all of the relationships we have in life.
Pope Francis is calling us to have a bigger picture than the small squabbles we usually engage in; and he is also calling us to have bigger hearts that can embrace and love as God loves; that can see and care as God cares; that can be part of transforming this world of darkness into the kingdom of light that Jesus came to inaugurate in our midst. We are being called to live relationships – within marriage, with the person we love, within families, within our church, with the stranger and even our enemies – that have Christ at the center; that Christ Himself be the lens through which we live our lives. Having the courage to do this will make all the difference in our lives; will make all the difference in the world. That is God’s plan for us.
“It is not good to be alone,” and thank God, we have each other, we have our families, we have our faith, we have our God, and we have our Church. What God has united, let no one divide.
May the Lord give you peace.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.