In today’s Gospel Jesus quotes today’s First Reading to support his teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. Both passages make it clear that marriage is from God and that it is a partnership of one man and one woman. The fact that every human culture, both ancient and modern, recognizes the institution of marriage is evidence that marriage is not simply a human invention or institution. It is part of the design that the Creator has for humanity. This is what the Book of Genesis, the teaching of Jesus and the constant tradition of the Church have consistently proclaimed.
Unfortunately we seem to be living in a post-religious society. Civil authorities have redefined marriage. Human sexuality has been divorced from its God-given purposes of procreation and the complementarity of man and woman. Even certain Christian denominations like the Episcopalians and ELCA Lutherans have abandoned the scriptural teaching on human sexuality to accommodate a growing secular view of sexuality and marriage. How can it be that the plan of God, “for whom and through whom all things exist,” (cf. today’s Second Reading) can so easily be abandoned? Even the incarnate Son of God was made “perfect through suffering.” Today’s Responsorial Psalm assures us that those who fear the Lord, who like Christ are obedient even in suffering, are the ones who will be led to salvation.
Today is Respect Life Sunday in the United States. There is no more fundamental, “inalienable,” God-given right than the right to life. The Life Chain from Regis High School along South Hastings Way from 2:00 to 3:30 this afternoon is one way of standing up publicly to defend this right. Respect for human life entails defending the defenseless unborn, welcoming the stranger, working for social justice, comforting the suffering, strengthening families and consoling the dying, to mention just a few ways that we express fraternal charity for our fellow human beings.
Thanks to Father Bernard Olszewski for visiting our parishes last weekend to inform us about Cross Catholic Outreach, which was founded to create a meaningful link between parishes in America and the priests and nuns working in the Church overseas in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Central and South America. This, too, is pro-life work. The Catholic Church has always worked for the salvation of all people, “from every nation, race, people and tongue.” (Revelation 7:9) This is because we recognize the fundamental human dignity of all people. Think of Saint Peter Claver, whom we remember on September 9, who dedicated his life to the salvation of the Africans who were brought to be slaves in South America; Saint Francis Xavier (December 3) who went as a missionary to India and the Far East; the North American Martyrs (October 19) and Saint Junipero Serra (July 1) who evangelized Native Americans in North America; Saint Vincent de Paul (September 27) who worked to educate poor children in Europe; and countless others. If you choose to support the work of Cross Catholic Outreach by prayer and financial sacrifice, you are welcome to do so.
Thursday, October 7, is the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. October is the month of the rosary. It is a great family prayer. The students from Saint Peter’s School will lead a living rosary following the 8:30 Mass on Friday, October 8. All are welcome.
Pray the rosary this week for a greater respect for human life and dignity; for the legal protection of all life, from its beginning at conception and throughout its natural course; for married couples and their families; and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.