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27th Sunday

We are still in the process of recovery from the devastating effects of the “killer typhoon” in Manila last week. After wreaking havoc in our country, the typhoon proceeded to disrupt the peace and serenity of surrounding countries. In the midst of seemingly desperate situations, the real sign of hope is the avalanche of love and support of Filipinos for each other.

It’s a mystery that tragedies make us realize that we are connected, that we can transcend the artificial boundaries we create between us. In moments of suffering, it is a tremendous grace to see in the face of another the face of a brother and sister to be loved, if we only try to open wide our hearts.

The readings today remind us that God created us for a special purpose. All creation is interrelated and intertwined in the mind of God. No one was fashioned for a life of isolation or seclusion. Our relationships define who we are. Relationships give purpose to our lives. Living in right relationships in God’s Kingdom is what Jesus has come to teach us.

The gospel upholds the special bond of man and woman in marriage, which no person can dissolve. Jesus proclaims a teaching that may sound uncomfortable to the people of his time, given to easy divorce as provided by their law, but he continues to insist on God’s plan for successful and faithful married life.

What is divorce? The word comes from the Latin divortium: “a fork in the road”. A moment comes in the life of married people when they suddenly realize the magic and romance are gone, reality has set in, damages are done and it is time to move on… sadly, in separate ways. Like natural disasters that inevitably rock the serenity of the world, there are storms in relationships that threaten the stability and continuity of human love.

The Church, drawing on the inspiration of Jesus, proclaims the sacredness of the commitment made by man and woman in marriage. Instead of prescribing the easy way out, divorce, the Church invites us to utilize even the tragedies of life, to discover anew our commitment to each other. If “killer typhoons” can transform strangers into brothers and sisters, maybe it is good to ponder on how “killer situations” can deepen the love, respect and trust of couples in wounded relationships. To uphold the sacredness of marriage over the simplistic approach of divorce is to believe in transformation, healing and commitment.

The readings also ask us to discontinue our “divorce” from the other elements of creation that God intended for our happiness. For a long time, we have disrespected nature, which is God’s gift and our task to preserve and cultivate. The widespread flooding revealed the tons of garbage we have indiscriminately dumped on our rivers. It has also reminded us that we have destroyed creeks and canals in our desire for incessant development of new apartments, buildings and communities.

Let us pray that our relationships with each other and with the world will not end in divorce but flourish through respect and faithfulness.