The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Saturday, October 04, 2003
Mk 10:2-16 or 10:2-12

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
"Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?"
They replied,
"Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her."
But Jesus told them,
"Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate."
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery."

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
"Let the children come to me;
do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it."
Then he embraced them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.


There were two different schools of thought.
They were opposite. It was a controversy:

They ask about divorce.
Jesus answers with God’s desire.

Their question assumes an inequality.
Jesus answers with mutuality, mutual dignity.

The wife does not “belong’ to the husband. They both belong to God.

Does the Church have anything to say about marriage? The culture would seem to indicate that a bunch of celibate men should not be making rules for married people. I am often amused by commentators who demand that the church get out of the bedroom. The Church is more than its priests, and aren’t we supposed to get some sleep too?

This is not about rules.
It is about how we were created.
And it is about God’s desire for us.

The Sacrament of marriage is the best sign of the church.
Marriage, communion, this is what the church is.

The world has largely forgotten how to do this.
Is it too difficult?

It is often said that the divorce rate is 50% or greater
And many young people face marriage with great fear.

Actually the divorce rate over the last 20 years in this country is 18-22%
For families that make attending Church part of their practice it is much less.
For those who attend Church AND pray and home,
The last statistic I heard is one in 1100.

When we hear the 50% statistic, it is a well founded economic hope.
If the culture we live in can divide the family, the market is doubled.
Pay attention to sit-coms and commercials. How much respect do they have for family and for marriage?

But division and separation and loneliness are not in the hopes that Jesus has for us.

What we celebrate here is not a set of rules and law,
of requirements and regulations.

What we celebrate here is the desire of Jesus, his desire that we experience communion, that we know what it means to belong to one another, that we learn the way of charity which is his very life.

From the very beginning God desired that none of us ever be alone, that the dividing walls between people may disappear.

(Ephesians 2: 13-16)13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. 14 8 For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, 15 abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person 9 in place of the two, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it.

Jesus describes for us the way of intimacy he desires for all people.
It is a way of weakness.
It is the way of the little child.

When we are strong with each other,
We create separation, we create divisions.

When we are vulnerable, able to be weak with one another,
We create intimacy.

The wife who listens to here husband’s fear of losing his job,
who reacts by telling him to work harder,
who tries to be strong and tell him he should not feel that way,
who demonstrates strength by offering advice,
creates an experience where the husband has to shield himself
from the pains of the world,
and ultimately from her.

If she responds by accepting his fear
If she recognizes that the fear is legitimate,
And if she identifies with the fear,
She provides a safe haven, a place of belonging
That no fear can conquer.
She helps to create intimacy.

The same thing is true with a husband who accepts his wife’s feelings and emotions.
He understands them even though they are not his feelings.
He recognizes that she is important and validates her experience
The mutual weakness creates an intimacy that is a home for this couple and this family.
And it even becomes a place where they can experience the presence of God.
This is why this is called a sacrament, a place of real presence.

Is not this weakness the way he came to us?
Did he not appear to us first as a child?
Was it not absolute powerlessness seen on the cross?

If he had come to us in power?
He would have taken away our freedom, our dignity.
So he came to us in weakness.
Not just to be Lord, but to call us friends.
He came to take on our likeness, our weakness,
That he might be intimate with us.

There are times and places, we still need to be powerful.
To do our work, to accomplish our tasks, to serve our families.

But our lives are only fulfilled when with someone we can be weak,
We can be ourselves, we can be human

Our life is fulfilled
when we give ourselves completely.
When we give ourselves in service to the church
When we give of ourselves to our friends and our spouses.

They were asking about divorce.
Jesus only wanted them to know God’s desire.

Do you know God’s desire?
Have you become weak with him, who became powerless for you?
Have you received him as he is, and not as you imagined him?

Here he comes to you, to lay his hand upon you and to embrace you,
To share with you this meal, and to let you experience the intimacy of his love in this time and place.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 10:19 PM link
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St. Gaspar's World

Our International Website is celebrating the coming 50th anniversary of St. Gaspar's canonization by doing a virtual tour of some of the sites associated with his life. The currant installment is on the Piazza Montanara, a place associated with the beginning of his ministry.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 4:51 PM link
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