• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

Friday, 01 October 2021 18:07

27th Week in Ordinary Time - Year B - 2021

Written by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 10:2-16

Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestRecently, marriage has been quite a hot topic in various sectors of society. At one end, there are advocates for “marriage equality” which means you can marry any person regardless of their gender. A man can marry another man and a woman can marry another woman. While on the other hand, particularly with Catholics, there are some who advocate that those who have divorced their spouse and remarried should be able to partake of the Eucharist at Mass. And this issue has deeply divided Catholic bishops and theologians worldwide. While in other parts of the world, there’s the existence of “child brides”, where underage girls are forced to marry men who are old enough to be their fathers and we don’t have to think hard of its disastrous consequences.

The gospel for today, places Jesus in a tight spot by being asked his opinion about divorce. We should remember that in Jewish society, divorce was permissible as it is allowed in Mosaic Law. However, there was a division among the Pharisees and scribes as to what were the circumstances under which divorce should be permitted. On one hand of the debate, divorce should be permitted in whatever circumstance it may be. It means that even the flimsiest reason for a husband to divorce his wife should be granted. For example, if the wife has a nagging voice or if she burns the dinner food, those are enough reasons for a divorce to be granted. On the other hand, some argue that divorce should only be permitted in extreme circumstances. For example, proof of spouse’s infidelity through adultery or incapacity to have children, those reasons and other grave circumstances are the only cases where divorce is permissible.

However, we must also remember that the purpose of the Pharisees was not to seek clarity on this issue but in order to trap Jesus into this debate where whatever he said would be used against him by one party or another. Then through this Jesus would be discredited because he took a stand on either side of the debate. But Jesus knew this trap and took the opportunity to rise up against their petty arguments and state God’s purpose for marriage – that whatever God has joined together, no human being must separate. So for Jesus, divorce is not possible in whatever circumstance. And nothing can be plainer than that.

Then we ask ourselves, Isn’t this quite harsh? I would say not at all. Jesus is not harsh. In fact Jesus is well grounded in reality. Jesus knew that there are marriages that fall apart. Jesus knew of the sadness and the tragedy that divorce brings to couples. In the gospel of John, Jesus had a conversation with the woman at the well. Jesus knew very much the state of the woman, for Jesus can read our hearts. And yet despite knowing that this woman married five times and the man that she was with was not her husband, Jesus did not condemn her. Jesus even made her a messenger to tell the townsfolk that he was around and was willing to preach to them.

Starting this Sunday and for the rest of the week, the Catholic Church in Australia will have its Plenary Council which is the first time since 1937. No doubt, part of the discussions will cover issues around marriage and family here in Australia aside from other pertinent topics. Let us pray for the success of the discussions during this council so that the Holy Spirit may guide our Church in Australia in moving forward.

When I was a chaplain at St Claudine Thevenèt Primary School, I observed that when two children would fight in the playground, the teacher or myself would come and sort it out. Once the two had apologised to each other, they would resume playing as if nothing happened. While we adults, when we have a misunderstanding, sometimes it takes years before we can start talking to each other again.

In Jewish society, being a child is next to nothing, and yet Jesus said that if we will not accept the kingdom of God like a child, we will not enter into it. In other words, if we will not be child-like or possess the good qualities of a child like honesty, trust, loyalty, caring, loving, forgiving, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. How many times we don’t value children much in society. However, if we truly listen to them, we may learn a thing or two. God values those whom society thinks as worthless. Maybe if we change our mentality once in a while and learn from children then maybe we would be earning the Kingdom of God also.

May we continue to pray for our families and children so that our Holy Spirit may protect them and guide them in accordance to God’s will.