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Aug 182016

Root of the divorce is in the hardness of heart and fights over little things

Marital relations are in crisis, because each person wants their own happiness, and couples today are getting a divorce for any reason.

The root of the divorce is the “hardness of heart”. But today Jesus wants to speak to the families that the divorce happens first in the hearts of the couples.

I’m going to tell you a story I heard, whose author is unknown:

The man behind the counter, looked the way distracted, while a little girl approached the store, she dented the nose against the glass of the window. Their eyes the color of the sky, brightened when he saw the given object. She went into the store and asked to see the necklace of turquoise blue.

“It’s for my sister. You can make a pretty package?”

The store owner looked suspicious to the little girl and asked her:

“How much money do you have?”

Without hesitation, she took from her pocket a handkerchief  all all tied up and was undoing the knots. She placed it on the counter, and happily said:

“This is enough isn’t it? (There were only a few coins she exhibited proud.) “You know,” she continued, “I want to give this gift to my older sister. Since our mother died, she takes care of us and has no time for herself. Today is her birthday and I’m sure she will be happy with the necklace that is the color of her eyes.”

“The man went into the store. Put the necklace in a box, wrapped with a garish red paper and used a fancy lace with a Green Ribbon.”

“Take this!” He said to the girl. “Take care of yourself.”

She left happy skipping down the street. I wasn’t a full day that passed when a beautiful young woman with blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes entered the store. She put onto the counter the opened package he gave to the younger girl earlier she asked: “This necklace was purchased here?”

“Yes, Ma’am”

“And how much it cost?”

“Oh! Said the owner of the shop. The price of any product from my store is always a confidential matter between the seller and the customer.”

The girl continued: “But my sister just had a few coins. And this necklace is real, isn’t it? She wouldn’t have money to pay for it.”

The man took the case, remade the package with extreme care, put the tape and returned it to the young woman. “She paid the highest price that anyone can afford. She gave it everything he had.”

Silence filled the small shop, and tears rolled by the face of the young woman, while she took the package with her hands. She returned home…

You are capable of doing anything for your family? You have to give everything you have for it. So you got married? Why are you engaged? What motivates you to join this woman or that man?

Wife, find time to look into the eye of your husband and tell him you love him. This isn’t just for “brand new” couples; This is characteristic of the family. I hope nobody “dies” in your home. I hope you don’t fall asleep next to a corpse.

If things are bad for your family, choose to walk the true path that is Jesus. He shouts to our hearts: “your family is good, your marriage is good”. God believes in your family, God believes in you, in your story. Stop being silly! Walk the road and don’t forget that the way is Jesus; If you want your family to be happy, give it to him.

Couples, break the hardness of heart, love, because there’s still time! Love your children while you can because they will grow. This is the right time, time to give attention to them. Break the hardness of heart. I ask you today: return to your homes without fear, the way is Jesus.

There is solution for your family, and it begins in your heart. Stay on the path, because you and your home are of the Lord “.

Original Portuguese Text produced from preaching in Jan. 2006

Nov 232015

Jesus says repeatedly: “be not afraid!”. He starts saying: “be not afraid of men”; then says: “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul (Matthew 10, 26th and 28th). Soon after, says: “fear not, Yes, well more than the birds Sparrows” (Mt 10, 31).

The Lord also says that what they say in the dark should be told in the light and what they say to the ear must be said about the rooftops. That means, today, publish and announce it by the media that He gave us. The antennas are on the roofs so that communication can happen. The Apostles at the time of Jesus could never imagine this. So, the Lord says: “he who believes in me will do the works that I do, too, and will do even greater than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14, 12).

Photo: Daniel Mafra/

“So do not fear, for I am with you; Don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I the fortalecerei and help you; I hold with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41.10).

We are privileged because we are a family and what we have done is in the family. We are not alone. A broomstick alone breaks down easily, but several broomsticks together do not break easily.

Pope John Paul II began his papacy saying: “be not afraid! Open wide the doors to the Redeemer “. Even in the face of every difficulty that lived with the Communist system he persevered. He invoked our Lady, who stated: “My Immaculate Heart will triumph”.
You did not receive a spirit that enslaves only to fear again, but received the spirit that makes children by adoption, whereby we cry out: “Aba, Father”.

Today, you have to scream over the rooftops: “be not afraid!”. Open the doors to the Redeemer, let him in on your marriage, in your House, and so fear will collapse. There’s a moment that all evil is forced to give in.

“Behold I command you, take courage, and be strong. Fear not and be not dismayed: because the Lord your God is with you in all things whatsoever you shall go to“(Joshua 1.9).

All wickedness will fall if we resist, because the Lord himself says: “fear not!”. For this we need the power of the Holy Spirit.

With my blessing,

Monsignor Jonas Abib

Portuguese Version

Oct 082012

The pharisees sought a motive to condemn Jesus, therefore, the questions of the law. The law associated marriage to possession of goods and recognizing to the man the right to repudiate his wife relagating her to a position of submission. In today’s text, Jesus continues was walk on the road to Jerusalem, where the central religious-political power is going to condemn him to death, the goal being not only with His person but with his teaching.

What we see in the Gospel is Jesus entering first in controversy with the pharisees, the “guardians”of faithful practice to the Law, the group enjoyed great prestige before more simple  population and created the right to be the only authentic interpreters of the will of God. Therefore, entering in conflict with Jesus, not wanting to know better the will of the Father, but in stressing the text “to test him.”

The chosen battlefield was the debate over divorce. The reference text for them was Dt 24:1-4, where the legitimacy of divorce is not treated, but the criteria in order that it may happen.

The Gospel of Matthew makes it clearer than Mark on the sense of the debate (Mt 19:1-9) The background was the criteria necessary in order that a man may be able to divorce himself from his woman (it was not recognized in the Jewish law that the woman can divorce herself from her husband, for the woman was considered an “object” that belong to the man.) In the time of Jesus there were two tendencies symbolized by the symbolized by the rabbinical schools of the great pharisees. One school taught that one could divorce his wife for whatever reason, even the most banal. And the other school affirmed divorce was only permitted for serious motives. Therefore, in Matthew the question is defined better: “Is it permitted to divorce oneself for whatever motive?” (Mt 19:4)

In both Gospels, Jesus recuses himself from entering in the casuistic debate what surround the question and limits Himself to reaffirm the project of the Father for marriage: “Therefore, what God unites, man must not separate.” Here, Jesus reaffirms with all strength the ideal of Christian marriage, a permanent union, based in love and strengthened by the grace of the Sacrament.

It would be useless to seek in this exerpt a theology more distant from marriage, but much less pastoral orientations to the practical problems of unsuccessful marriage, for this was not the intention of the author. Mark simple reaffirms the principle that ” What God unities, man must not separate.” This leaves open the question of when is God really united the marriage. Will it be that only because they celebrated validly a wedding, the couple is necessarily united by God? The real problems are much more complex, anguishing and difficult to solve.

The excerpt continues with the question of children. The question, here is not the child as a symbol of innocence, but of dependency. The child resembles them – they live this situation of dependency of being “without power”. Whoever want to enter the Reign of God will have to open his hand of all dominating power, becoming like a child.

Denying to accept the situation in which the woman was simply an object of possession of the man – and thus subject to be rejected – and proposing the weakness and dependence as model, in a society that valued the predominant, Jesus shows the values of the Reign of God are in contrast to the values of His time and His day. Christ proposes a equality of dignity between the man and the woman, a fidelity and permanent commitment and the search for a life of service not of dominion. Really, a proposal in contrast to the modern society that negates the permanent, perpetuates the machismo and admires whomever holds power.

We are invited to day to enter with Jesus into the counter-culture and to create a society based on Christian values.

Lord Jesus, that the Christian couples understand the profundity of the their union, the work of God himself. Amen.

Father Bantu Mendonça

translated from Portuguese

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