Gospel Meditations

GOSPEL MEDITATION FOR
19 AUGUST, 2017, SATURDAY, 19th WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
BY REV FR ERBIN FERNANDEZ & CSC TEAM
COPYRIGHTS RESERVED.

“Let the children come to me.” Matt 19:14″

GOSPEL: Matt 19:13-15

http://www.universalis.com/20170819/mass.htm

(I sense Jesus wanting to meet me. I prayerfully call upon the Holy Spirit to be present. I prayerfully read today’s gospel passage slowly once through. I sit in silence for a few minutes with the gospel text. I now pray through the following meditation. I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, pausing wherever I need to.)

About three years ago, Time Magazine covered a story “The Childfree Life”. The photo on the main cover of the edition showed a young, fit couple relaxing on a beach and gazing up at the camera smiling—and no child anywhere in sight. What the editors want us to accept is that this scenario is not just increasingly a fact in many countries, but that it is morally acceptable as well, a lifestyle choice that some people legitimately make. Whereas in one phase of the feminist movement, “having it all” meant that a woman should be able to both pursue a career and raise a family, now it apparently means a relationship and a career without the crushing encumbrance of annoying, expensive, and demanding children. There is no question that childlessness is on the rise in various countries in the world.

What is behind this phenomenon? The author in the article in Times spoke to a variety of women who had decided not to have children and found a number of different reasons for their decision. Some said that they simply never experienced the desire for children; others said that their careers were so satisfying to them that they couldn’t imagine taking on the responsibility of raising children; still others argued that in an era when bringing up a child costs big sums of money, they simply couldn’t afford to have even one baby.

Statistics show that slightly more Singaporeans tied the knot last year but fewer had children. The government is trying its best to solve this problem with ” bold collective actions” in the areas of housing, pre-school services, workplace and community support. Young adults are also encouraged to take the time to start the families they dreamed of having, while pursuing other goals like climbing the career ladder.

But no one talks about values that make a demand on freedom. Rather, the individual will is consistently construed as sovereign and self-disposing. Up until recent times, having children was about carrying on the family name and tradition; it was about contributing to the strength and integrity of one’s society; it was about perpetuating the great adventure of the human race; it was a participation in the dynamisms of nature itself. And finally, it was about cooperating with God’s desire that life flourish: “And you, be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it” (Gen. 9:7). None of this is meant to be crushing to the will, but liberating. When these great values present themselves to our freedom, we are drawn out beyond ourselves and integrated into great realities that expand us and make us more alive. We realize that our lives are not about us.

Many times, people reach the zenith of their careers only to look back wishing they had set aside some time to grow a family of their own. Today, like the disciples, are we turning away children believing that they disturb our lifestyle or are we open to children believing that they are in God’s plan.

Action:Today I will pray for the grace not to be caught up in a selfish culture but to choose against the culture even when demands are made on my freedom.

(I journal: What phrase touched me today? What is Jesus inviting me to live today? I ask for a specific grace for today.)

GOSPEL MEDITATION FOR
18 AUGUST, 2017, FRIDAY, 19th WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
COPYRIGHTS RESERVED.

“THEY ARE NO LONGER TWO, THEREFORE, BUT ONE BODY” (MATTHEW 19:6)

GOSPEL: MATTHEW 19:3-12

http://www.universalis.com/20170818/mass.htm

(I sense Jesus wanting to meet me. I prayerfully call upon the Holy Spirit to be present. I prayerfully read today’s gospel passage slowly once through. I sit in silence for a few minutes with the gospel text. I now pray through the following meditation. I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, pausing wherever I need to.)

Wow! Is it truly possible in this day and age to stay married for life! Jesus today says that it is because we are so unteachable that Laws were offered by Moses to the Israelites to try to keep some order in the Jewish community. Our Laws are meant to keep some semblance of order at least if not we would all descend into chaos. Case in point is when you are driving and you suddenly realize to your utter horror that the traffic lights are not working at a particular traffic junction and suddenly all civility is lost and everyone goes into a guessing game. Our true brute nature is always there so the Laws are there to protect us and give some semblance of civility.

But Jesus today insist that there is something very sacred about the bond of marriage that from the very beginning God had ordained it to be unbreakable. So why then do marriages break? Well in the first instance if we do not receive enlightenment from the Holy Spirit about what the reason is for such an institution. If our starting point is that it is just a natural part of life, like in the animal kingdom where animals mate and have a litter. But then we might insist but we are more than animals we consciously choose the other not out of instinct (we hope!) but rather because we sense not only the attraction but also the higher calling. A vocation in other words. Meaning when we discern marriage we are going back to the original purpose of coming together as male and female in the image and likeness of God, to be in union with each other in total freedom. But because of the fall and original sin, the plan of God is disrupted. Bot God is never outdone, in the fullness of time God sent His Son to be born of a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph. The original model of the human family is restored! Jesus lived the experience of Nazareth for thirty years and was formed for His mission in this way.

This is why Jesus strongly insists that from the beginning it wasn’t this way. Today I make an appeal especially to couples in crisis. God still has a plan for you if your discernment has been made well. But truly barring danger of losing your life through physical violence all marriages are never perfect but can be lived with great holiness if they are lived under the twin hearts of Jesus and Mary. This journey is long and difficult but let us embark on it together as a Church in the New Evangelization. Let us not give up on the plan of God, the married couple and the family, the source of salvation for the world!

Action: Today I recommit myself to my marriage vows or if I am single I will discern carefully my calling of such a state of life

(I journal: What phrase touched me today? What is Jesus inviting me to live today? I ask for a specific grace for today.)