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Reflection On The Sunday Gospel For The 27th Sunday In Ordinary Time By Fr. Isidore Clarke, O.P.

Reflection On The Sunday Gospel For The 27th Sunday In Ordinary Time         By Fr. Isidore Clarke, O.P.

Greetings from Fr. Isidore Clarke.Today I'm going to reflect on the Gospel for 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time.In this Jesus explains God's plans for marriage. This provides a fitting introduction to the Synod on marriage and the family, which Pope Francis has summoned for later this month.

'Bone of my bone' –Adam's reaction to Eve.In other words, 'We were made for each other!'And so they were.It's very natural for men and women to want to share their lives, to provide each other with companionship and support, and for children to be the fruit of their love.This was, and still is, God's plan for most men and women.

But much more is required than romantic feelings and physical attraction, which are good, and can be the starting point for lasting love. But feelings and emotions can be very unreliable.Serious thought and a solemn commitment are needed to provide a stable foundation for true love.This commitment needs to be constantly renewed, especially when there are tensions in a marriage.The same is true of taking life- long vows in the Dominican Order.For both vocations it's a question of learning to live together in a way that will bring out the best in all of us.

In today's Gospel Jesus speaks about the permanence of marriage as a life-long commitment.That's to protect the stability of marriage.According to Jewish law women could be divorced for the slightest of reasons.Jesus wanted to protect them from this injustice. And children need to be brought up in a loving, stable home.

Jesus condemned divorce, which contradicts God's original plan for marriage. He wants to protect both the family and the good of society.The Church does not have the power to change the teaching of Christ.

This means that before a couple gets married they need to think very carefully about making a life-long commitment. To help them the Church insists on a lengthy preparation.After marriage they will need the resilience to come to terms with each other's changing moods and to adapt to the ways they both develop over the years. It's foolish simply to hope a marriage will turn out well; each must accept continuous personal responsibility – by resolving to work on being the best possible spouse and parent.

I can remember commenting on the film, 'Love Story,' in which a young woman says, 'Love means never having to say, 'Sorry.''To which I replied, 'Rubbish.'Love means being willing to say, 'Sorry' –and having the generosity to forgive.

Not only is marriage very natural and good.Between Christians it's a sacrament.It's planned and blessed by God –not only on the wedding day, but through out married life.That means several things.Firstly, God supports the couple and helps them cope with difficulties, especially if they turn to Him for assistance. Through the different ways they express their love they experience something of God, the author of all love; they help each other to draw closer to Him.

It may seem a cheek for a celibate priest to have talked about marriage.But I did have parents, as well as married brothers, and many people have discussed their marriages with me.Also I have personal experience of the challenge of living in a community for 65 years –not easy.Above all, I have tried to explain the teaching of the Church, while being compassionate to those who have difficulties in their marriages.

That is what Pope Francis wants the Church to express in this month's Synod on marriage and family life.While some fear the Synod will be too lax and will undermine the essentials of Christ's teaching on marriage and family life, others are afraid that it won't help those with real difficulties.

While some have unrealistic expectations of the Synod, others fear it will betray what is essential. Instead of firing broadsides at those with whom we disagree, we must place more trust in the Spirit of Truth, promised by Christ.He will guide the Synod in discerning the best pastoral approach to genuine, serious problems.He will protect the Church from error in essentials. The Synod needs to be supported by our prayers, not undermined by our suspicions.

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