OCTOBER INVITES US TO REFLECT ON RESPECT LIFE, ROSARY, THE LIFE OF ST. FRANCIS, AND MUCH MORE…..
First of all, let us wish our St. Francis parishioners a happy and joyful Feast of St. Francis. The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi is on October 4th. St. Francis of Assisi loved the whole universe. The custom of blessing animals originated from St. Francis’s love of all creatures. Animals used to come and listen to St.Francis preach. St. Francis loved all God’s creation, in other words, loved all life.
The Church dedicates the month of October to respect life and the rosary. We are in the “Year of St. Joseph” so we focus on a great example of St. Joseph, and the theme for the respect life is “St. Joseph, the defender of life.” Our life from womb to tomb is a gift from God and He is our Hope. As I mentioned above, October is the month of the Rosary, a devotion to our Mother Mary, which very well connects with respect life month. When we meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary, we walk through the life of Joseph, Mary and Jesus: from the very moment of his conception in the womb of Mary, how Joseph protected Mary and child Jesus. Further we go through his public life of Jesus; passion, death, and resurrection to his ascension and coming of the Holy Spirit. Through his salvific action, He restored the dignity of our life.
There is an article on the Respect Life website: St. Joseph: Faithful protector of Mother and Child. It says, “The humble and often hidden carpenter of Nazareth accompanied Mary in her pregnancy, assisted at the birth of the Messiah in a stable, presented Jesus in the Temple, fled with his family far from their homeland to protect them, and lovingly raised Jesus as his own son in the years to come.” St. Joseph tells us through his life, how to be the voice for the voiceless, and respect the dignity of life.
The scripture readings for this weekend are about the covenant, bond of love in marriage, a bond that God wishes to be permanent. In the book of Genesis, there are two creation accounts. The first one in chapter one which involves 7 days of creation. The second chapter gives us the second account of creation where man is created first. God created Adam, then created everything else and placed him in the garden to care for everything. But Adam was alone and the solitude was not good for him. So God created a woman, a partner for him. When man meets woman, it is the climax of the reading where Adam says, "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” It is an institution of a covenant. We can see in the second book of Samuel 5:1, a covenant made between David and Israel, which reads, “All the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron, and they said: “Look! We are your bone and your flesh.” In the Book of Genesis, it is a covenant between man and woman.
This reading prepares us to listen to the Gospel passage. It is a kind of debate taking place in the Gospel. The Pharisees wanted to prove that Jesus is wrong. The base of their argument is Deuteronomy 24:1, “When a man, after marrying a woman, is later displeased with her because he finds in her something indecent, and he writes out a bill of divorce and hands it to her, thus dismissing her from his house…” Jesus told them that Moses’s teaching was temporary due to their hardness of heart. Jesus emphasises on the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1:27 and 2:24, in the beginning of creation, there Jesus proclaims permanence to be the divine intent from the beginning concerning human marriage.
The second reading, from Hebrews, reminds us that Jesus became one of us, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. In Israel, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement to offer sacrifice for the reconciliation of the people to God and for the forgiveness of the sins committed over the past year. Jesus, the Eternal High Priest offered himself on the Cross and established the Eternal Covenant. He came as one of us, he “tasted death for everyone.” He was not only the Sacrifice, but also the High Priest.