Genesis 2:18-24, Hebrews 2:9-11, Mark 10:2-16
The Family bond is that close connection that exists between people that share the same family bloodline. It is that unity that exists among fathers, mothers, children, brothers and sisters. When there is a bond, it means that in every family, there is a close connection and share of feelings between the members of the family.
In between the family members, there is a strong feeling of unity, friendship, love, and attachment between them. When the family bond is strong, there is always a guarantee that the family will surely progress in life. But when there are problems and disagreements, there is a tendency that the family is going to crumble. What unites a family should be greater than what divides them
The Origin of the family.
The Existence of the family is as old as the old testament. The Human family is a product of God’s creation. The existence of the human family comes directly from God.
The Family is at the centre of God’s plan for the continuation of His creative work. God established families from the very beginning when He brought forth Adam and Eve. The first reading and the gospel says that for this reason that man shall leave His father and mother and cling to His wife and they will become one flesh.
They come together and form a bond. Therefore, this refers to the divine origin of the family, the institution of marriage, the sacredness of marriage, the essence of the family bond that is supposed to unite every family.
The issue today is that this bond has been destroyed by many. We downplay the importance of marriage and underrated the sacredness.
Many people today see marriage as something ordinary. Marriage is beyond the ordinary. God himself is the one who instituted marriage for man to continue his work of creation. Therefore, God’s intention for every family is for them to live in peace, unity and love.
The Family Bond
There should be an unbreakable bond that must characterize every family. This bond must unite them together and no one is expected to break it.
1. In the first reading, God saw that it is not good for man to be alone. God promises to make him a suitable partner.
The first thing that God did was to form out of the ground, various kinds of animals and bring them to Adam but none of them prove to be a suitable partner for man. That is when God puts Adam in the deep sleep and forms a woman from the ribs of the man.
Now when God brought the woman to Adam, Adam was filled with joy. He now acknowledged that this is the bone of his bone and the flesh of his flesh. Therefore, the presence of the woman brought joy back to Adam. This is how it should be.
2. The presence of the woman in the family should be a source of joy for the husband and members of the family. The woman who plays her role well should work towards peace, love and unity in the family. The woman is a source of joy and not an agent of family disunity and destruction.
3. The problem today is that what happened, in the beginning, is the opposite of what is happening now. In the beginning, Adam loved the wife more than the animals brought to him, but today, it seems many people love their pets more than they love their husbands or wives.
4. Also, the man should see the woman as part of His body. When a man begins to treat the woman as part of him, there will be a change. Secondly, just as Adam did, the man should see the woman as his partner. She is not somebody, we keep in the house to use anyhow we want. Just as the presence of Eve brought joy to Adam, the presence of the woman should give joy to the man. Let men appreciate their wives and whatever effort they make to keep the family going.
5. God is the person that brought Eve to Adam after creation. We have to know that when you find a wife, you are to marry, God is fully involved in that union. Do not treat the marital union anyhow you want. The family bond is beyond what we see. Today, many do not understand the sacredness of marriage.
6. The creator who created them, made them male and female. He did not create male and male or male and females. It is one man and one wife. The intention of the creator is not polygamy nor same-sex marriage. The intention of the creator was clear at the creation.
7. Marriage is sacred. This is why there is the need to respect and keep the family bond. This bond has to unite every member of the family together. The rib taken from Adam is God’s work. He is reminding every man that the woman compliments Him and also reminding the woman that they have to compliment the man and give him maximum support.
So, it means that together, or joining together means that both of them complement each other in marriage, and in Christ, they are “heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7). This is the secret of the family bond. The family bond is the intention of the creator and we have to keep to it. God is not bringing us together to divide us but to unite us.
There was a story of a man who was having a serious crisis with his wife. No day would pass without them having problems and quarrelling. This couple has two children, five and three years. These little kids will always cry while watching their parents fight each other.
Because of this, the man told his brothers, inlaws and kinsmen that there is nothing that he has in common with the wife again. The wife also said the same. The in-laws and brothers, did all they could to bring them, yet to no avail. One day, when they were not in the house, the little sister of the man came and took the kids to her home.
So, the man and the woman came back without any sign of their kids. The man ran to the sisters home to ask, then unfortunately for him, the wife was also there seeking the same. The younger sister asked his brother “what are you looking for? He replied that He is looking for his kids.
The younger sister asked the same to the wife, the wife replied the same way. Then the younger sister asked them “whose kids? Both of them replied “mine..” The sister told them that they are not serious. How can they be dragging the kids. That was when the brother said “our kids”.
Then the sister asked him, “Why do you say our kids when you said you do not have anything in common, you see, both of you are looking for the same people, having the same emotional trauma, and unwillingly to rest until you see your kids, that is enough to tell you how connected and bonded both of you are”.
Then the man looked at his wife, the wife embraced him immediately and made peace. No matter how much we try to divide our families into pieces, what binds the family is far from what divides the family.
What God has United, Man must not Divide.
In the gospel, Some Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, ‘Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife?’ Mark uses the Greek word peirazontes meaning to tempt, to test someone etc. Therefore, the reason for their coming to Jesus is not to seek information but to put Jesus in temptation.
We do not know what their reasons could be. Some say that the reason is that at this time Jesus was in Perea, which was Herod Antipas’s territory. Remember that Herod Antipas is the one who put John the Baptist in prison because John warned against his marriage to Herodias. Maybe the Pharisees thought that Jesus, by his statements on marriage and divorce, would put himself into trouble with Antipas, so that he would suffer the same cruel fate as John.
Secondly, In terms of the lawfulness of divorce, They jews believe that divorce was allowed. The crucial text was Deuteronomy 24:1: “If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce”.
So, when they ask Jesus, ‘Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife?’ Any answer will be a loophole. If Jesus gives a yes answer, He is supporting that people treat their wives anyhow, if Jesus says no, it means he does not know the law.
So, any answer is to trap Jesus. Instead of answering the question directly, countered with a question of his own. Moses was their authority-what did he say? They replied that Moses allowed them to write a certificate of divorce. Then Jesus says ‘
‘It was because you were so unteachable that he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’ Back in the house, the disciples questioned him again about this, and he said to them, ‘The man who divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another she is guilty of adultery too.’
Jesus did not question the law. But he explained to them that Moses’ permission to divorce is only to accommodate their human weakness. But that is not what God intended in marriage. God’s intentions for the family and marriage is that it must be a lifelong union, a bond that unites the husband and wife, and a sacred union.
So, the Pharisees mistook God’s gracious provision in allowing divorce as his approval of it. In the same way, God permitted polygamy in the old testament.
The point here is that in marriage and family
1. God is the one who unites and when He unites, no one should separate. Marriage is not a vocation to be toiled with. It is sacred.
2. God’s intentions for the family and marriages is not division, quarrelling, fighting and disagreement among ourselves. God intends to create perfect unity and love among the couple. The family should be bonded.
3. In marriage, the man and woman are one flesh and one body. Therefore, to ensure the family bond, they must live in peace and closeness with each other. They must be united together in one flesh.
So, the unity, sacredness and indissolubility of marriage come from God. Therefore if it is God that unites, no one shall divide or put asunder. In the same way, there should not be divisions among family members. The family bond is a sacred instruction from the Lord.
3. This also shows that marriage is not a contract of temporary convenience. It is not a vocation, we do whatever we like. Finally, it is not a union that we go and come out, at our own will. It is a permanent vocation. So, we have to respect our matrimonial home.
4. In the marriage relationship, they become one and not two. They become one; “one flesh” and “one body”. This states the unity and indissolubility. Among the numbers, one remains indivisible.
What we Owe to Our children
The Children also form part of the family. In the gospel, People were bringing children to Jesus for him to touch them. The disciples turned them away, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs”.
The instructions here are clear. Jesus advocates that parents should allow their children to come to him. Therefore, when we raise our children, raise them in the name of the Lord. Therefore Jesus is warning all presents, not to deny their children access to Him. Train your child in the lord’s way, you will not forget it. The children are also part of the family bond. As the parents make effort towards the family unity, they should also train their children in the Lords way.
Secondly, Jesus says “I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it”.’ Then he put his arms around them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing. Therefore, Jesus is teaching us what we owe to our children. Therefore as Jesus blesses them today, parents should also pray and bless their children always. The blessings of parents can make a way for the child.
1. Today many people have forgotten that God is the one who establishes the human family, This is the reason they treat their homes as shambles and treat the wives and husbands anyhow they want. The family bond that exists between husband and wife is not negotiable.
In 1 Peter 3:1) Peter advises the Wives, to respect and obey their husbands in the same way. The only way to do this is for them to be fine and holy in the heart (1 Peter 3:4). He also advises the husbands in verse 7 to live with their wives the way they know is right. Then respect her because she is a woman. Therefore, the family bond should be watered with mutual love and self-giving for each other.
2. Instead of building our families with mutual love and self-respect, we have allowed divisions, jealousy, bitterness and envy to cripple the foundations of our family. Today, the rate of divorce cases is at an alarming rate. We have allowed the devil to continue to attack the family stronghold. We need to bring back the glory of the past days and reconstruct the family values again.
3. The family is the first and basic institution of human society. Its nature and purpose are inscribed in the very makeup of man and woman who are incomplete. This is why they need the help of each other to reach their full potential.
Unfortunately, sin has sown in many families the seeds of selfishness and divisions which lead to the most painful breakups. Today’s readings remind us of God’s plan for the human family. The human family is to be bonded in love because God who created it, is love.
4. Today many couples are experiencing big problems in their marriages. Instead of allowing pride and ego to destroy the marriage, the family should come together and settle their differences and begin life afresh. It is better than rushing to court to seek divorce. God does not bring us together to divorce. God brings us together to be bonded in love.
5. Finally, parents should show concern for their children. Train them in the way of the lord. Most of the problems we are experiencing today are due to a lack of parental upbringing. Jesus loves it when we always bring them to him.
6. Nothing surpasses a family bond. The family that unites together and remains bonded in love always goes far in life. Let us go back and mend our broken homes.
May God have mercy on us and give us the grace to live in peace. Amen