27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

On the first Sunday of October every year we celebrate “Respect Life Sunday”.  This annual celebration is a time in which we particularly focus on the fact that human life is a gift from God and is to be respected from conception to natural death.  The reason that we need a “Respect Life Sunday” is that we live in a society, which does not respect life.  Our former Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, coined the phrase “culture of death” to describe the world in which we live.

Our culture does not value life as a good given by God.  As Catholics we know that God made man in His own image and likeness: “male and female He created them.”  All human life comes from God and it is up to God to determine the length of the life of each and every person.  Our culture has become increasingly hostile towards human life in its most vulnerable forms: in the elderly and in the unborn.  That is why we need “Respect Life Sunday”.

Created in the image and likeness of God means that we were created in the image and likeness of love, for God IS love.  God is Trinity: one God in three Persons.  Created in God’s image, we were also made to live in community.  We heard it right from the Lord in the First Reading: “It is not good for the man to be alone.”

Prior to the Fall of our First Parents, there was harmony in creation: harmony between God and human beings; harmony between human beings; harmony within each individual.  Sin ruptured that harmony.  Prior to the Fall, our first parents walked with God.  After they transgressed God’s command, they hid themselves from God.  They feared God.  They felt shame and covered themselves from one another.  Adam blamed Eve.  Sin corrupts and destroys relationships.

Satan hates human beings and he hates marriage.  The devil hates human beings because they are made in the image and likeness of God and he hates God.  He can’t hurt God, so he attacks the image of God: you and me.  The devil particularly hates the family: the family is a reflection of the love of the Holy Trinity.  So in an attempt to destroy the image of God, the devil wages war against individual human beings and against the family.  He succeeded in getting our First Parents to disobey God.  In our Gospel Reading today, we hear that by the time of Moses, divorce was allowed because people could not get along with one another.  Sin separates us from God and destroys our relationships with one another.  In the Gospel we hear that Jesus reestablished the order, which God intended from the beginning.  Jesus reaffirmed the importance of family life; family life is supposed to be a reflection of the community of the Trinity.  Jesus raised marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament.

Why all this talk about the family on “Respect Life Sunday?”  The current state of affairs in our society is directly related to the family.  The culture of death was able to come about as a result of a breakdown of the family.  When I seek my own interests above the interests of others, and at the expense of others, I contribute to the culture of death.  The culture of death would have us view others, be they children or be they elderly family member, as burdens: as something that prevents me from pursuing my own happiness.  In reality, family is a gift from God.  We should all do what we can to promote a culture of life.  If we feel called, perhaps we can get involved with some form of pro-life ministry.  At the very least, we should all be prepared and willing to defend life in our conversations with those that we come in contact with.  Most importantly, we can offer our prayers for the conversion of others.

Let us thank God for the gift of life.  Let us thank Him for the gift of our family.  Lord Jesus, we thank you for all the many blessings that you give to us.  Help us to see your image and likeness in those we encounter: especially in our family members.  We pray that life may be acknowledged as a gift from You and that it will be respected in our Country and in our world.  Help us to love others as ourselves for love of You.  Amen.


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