FATHER SAM’S MESSAGE
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We are challenged in the Gospel this Sunday by Jesus’ teachings on the sensitive subject of divorce and the personal subject of accepting God’s Kingdom like children. We should first think of the great dignity of the marriage bond. As a covenant of love between a woman, a man, and their Lord, marriage is not a merely human institution, but is fundamental in God’s plan for the world. We are reminded that the pain suffered in divorce is real, and are thus challenged to extend our prayers and acts of love toward those who have experienced the breakdown of marriage. I would encourage you to read a bit about the Catholic Church’s pastoral response to divorce and Pope Francis’ efforts to streamline the annulment process. A wonderful program for divorced people - Hearts Renewed - meets here at St. Pius X on a fairly regular basis. Please see their bulletin announcement for more information.
The Gospel ends with Jesus calling the disciples to “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them.” The juxtaposition of Jesus’ teaching on divorce and his care for children is no coincidence! Their close proximity in Scripture serves as a reminder that marriage impacts both spouses and children. Cardinal Christoph Shonborn, of Vienna, Austria, whose parents divorced when he was thirteen, has spoken passionately about pastoral care for children from divorced families. Not only should we deal mercifully with spouses, but also with children, whose lives are deeply impacted by divorce.
All this brings us back to Pope Francis’ visit to the US. Throughout his time here, the Holy Father called for renewal in family life. I believe his words can best illuminate the Gospel we read today. “Perfect families do not exist. This must not discourage us. Quite the opposite. Love is something we learn; love is something we live; love grows as it is ‘forged’ by the concrete situations which each particular family experiences. Love is born and constantly develops amid light and shadows.” May our family of faith continue to grow in faith and live that faith in everything we do!