Thursday, November 29, 2018

Sticking to Our Model

Written by  Fr. Deyre Azcuna

I remember a story about Henry Ford’s celebration of his and his wife’s golden or 50th wedding anniversary. Mr. Ford was asked by a reporter: “To what do you attribute your fifty years of successful married life?” Henry Ford smiled and answered: “The formula is the same one I used in making cars: just stick to one model.”

In Matthew 19, Jesus is asked why Moses allowed in the book of Deuteronomy the writing of a decree of divorce. Jesus, in response, brings us back to Genesis. He notes that, from the very beginning, the will and the plan of God, who created everyone, who created all things, was for us to be capable of a covenant relationship that lasts. And that is not an order. It is part of our nature, as human being; it is our model, how we were made. We were created to relate, not to separate; to link with one another, not to be isolated from one another. But then the Scribes and Pharisees pressed Jesus, ‘But why did Moses, also a man of God, allow the decree of divorce’ Jesus answers, “It is because of your stubbornness.” It is not because of God’s will. It is human hardness of heart. When we become hard of heart and stubborn, we begin to isolate ourselves. The cutting off of relationships begins with hardness and sticking it out with the hardness of the heart. So, whether in marriage, or in friendships, if you are beginning to see signs of the heart not anymore being one of flesh but of stone, beware! You cut yourself off from all relationships. If you are married, that would be the beginning of the end.

But that is not God’s plan. What is God’s plan for human beings? Not to separate but to relate. So, let us recover our deep identity as human persons, as relational beings. We were not created to destroy one another, to separate ourselves, to be islands not connected to one another. No. Whether in marriage, in friendships, in society, in finance, in the economy, in cultures, live up to that capacity given by God for us to be people of relationship.

 

This past October, the synod of bishops gathered in Rome to renew our covenant with the youth of our world. Youth who are vulnerable; youth who are being attack by false ideas of life and love; youth who are victimized by different types of manipulation and abuse. We make a covenant relationship. We renew our relationship as a Church with young people. And we assure them. You are created by God. You are fruits of love and suffering of your parents. The suffering that perfects them in love. It is a moment for us to teach young people how to be capable of wholesome and liberating relationships. And we can learn from them. We don’t only pass down to them, hand on to them (covenant relationships). We ask them to hand up to us (the elders) their own wisdom about covenant relationships. Let us pray for the youth. Let us pray for families.

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