I BELIEVE, the RH-Bill issue will not really solve the problem of our country but will only aggravate the situation, producing more broken homes and devastated children.
Our Gospel this Sunday speaks about the sanctity of marriage and the care for children. Talking about marriage, Jesus said, “What God has joined together no human being must separate.” Furthermore he said, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” Then in the second part of the Gospel, Jesus talks about welcoming and receiving children because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
It is good then to reflect on family life in general. First, if we look into the real situation, we know there is a crisis in the family today. In the US or many first- world countries, maybe one out of two marriages ends up in divorce. In our country alone, there is a growing number of legal separations and many are still applying in our marriage tribunals. In most cases, the children are actually the victims of these situations. Children are then either reared by single or by surrogate parents, or by a series of titos and titas and or by a mother’s boyfriend or father’s girlfriend. This is really not the ideal. The worst thing is that in many cases, children are sexually abused by those who are supposed to protect them. Those who are not lucky add up to the hundred thousands of abandoned street children. With the contraceptive mentality, we see people who do not like to beget children. They lose the value and beauty of being mothers. When you ask them why, they will say that married life and to have children is a nuisance and it is also expensive to nourish children. In western countries, men and women prefer to take care of dogs or pets rather than rear children. With this mentality, abortion becomes also rampant. Indeed, there are many problems attacking family life, and I believe, the RH-Bill issue will not really solve the problem of our country but will only aggravate the situation, producing more broken homes and devastated children.
The gospel today reminds us then to take seriously Jesus’s teaching against divorce. Let us all work for the preservation of the sanctity of marriage and lifetime commitment between husband and wife. In my wedding homilies, I always tell the couple to reflect on their wedding march. First, it is to march and walk humbly with their God! Couples need to be humble and obedient to God, who is the source of love. The second reading today, reminds us to be humble to one another. Second, in the bridal march, parents, sponsors and friends also march with the couple. It simply means that the couple needs friends to march with them. Loved ones who are ready to journey through thick and thin with them. Marriage cannot stand in isolation but in the context of a loving and supportive family and community. Lastly, the bridal march starts with the couple marching separately until they approach and encounter each other at the altar. I believe such journey towards one another should continue and should be nourished so it may grow and may bear fruits of unity and love. Let us then pray for perseverance and commitment for the new couples in our community.
Another challenge is the rearing of children. There is a mentality today that considers rearing children as a nuisance and a waste of money. We should instill once again in the men and women of today that while family life is difficult, it is also very beautiful. From bearing a child in one’s womb, giving birth, breast-feeding, babysitting, changing pampers, dressing the child up, teaching the child to speak and walk, accompanying to one’s first day of school, checking out assignments, watching the child grow from grade school, to high school and to college – these are heavy and exhausting tasks but are human. Let us love our families. Let us love our children because to such as these, the Kingdom of God belongs.
Finally, a child in the time of Jesus was a nobody. A child also symbolizes vulnerability and weakness. It is good that the gospel ends with receiving this child in his name because for me, it can also mean to receive and welcome families that are broken and separated. I believe that each one of us must have known one family or two that are divided. Jesus tells us today not to drive them away but receive them with hearts of compassion and love. Their married life already failed, family life devastated, let us not add to the injury with condemning looks and words. This is not to tolerate separation and divorce but while we work for the sanctity of marriage, we also see the sad reality and difficulty the couples are experiencing today and yet, Jesus touched and blessed them. May we do the same.
as published on October 7, 2012, Parish Bulletin
About Fr. Greg and a few of his Reflections