Loneliness is a scourge of our Western developed cultures. Pope Francis recently made a comparison between corner stores and supermarkets. In the supermarket we are swamped with products that aim to satisfy our every wish and desire. The corner store has nowhere near the range of products. However, at the corner store, the storekeeper knows us by name as we do the storekeeper. In the corner store recognition and trust travel hand in hand. In the supermarket we walk alone and self-serve ourselves even at the checkout.
In the story of creation the biblical author addresses the scourge of loneliness. Human beings are created in two stages as it were. God fashions the man part from the soil and breathes life into him. The man names all the creatures God likewise forms from the soil but none of these other creatures have the power of speech and the capacity to love and be loved. So God creates the woman part of humanity, not from the soil but from a rib of the man. On seeing the new creation there is instant recognition of complementarity and identity. Here is the helpmate longed for. From then on a man and a woman will leave the fundamental relationship of child to parent and unite with the other and the two will become one body. With this union, humanity flowers fully.
Jesus returns to this account of creation answering the question about the law permitting divorce. He acknowledges that Moses allowed the practice but says God’s original intention was that a man and woman, once married, are not to be divided. In their love and care for each other the ongoing creation of each other as persons continues as does the creation of new life as a result of their lovemaking.
In our society, tragically, divorce rates for first marriages are high with rates for second and third marriages being higher again. The church recognises that in some situations divorce must be sought for the civil effects it produces but the Church does not accept a family law decree can dissolve the bond created by God in response to the promises made by the bride and groom at their wedding: “I shall be true to you… I shall love and honour you.” Promises are to be kept not trashed or treated with indifference. Our personal well-being and that of our children depends on our keeping our promises. Our Lord promised that He would be with us always and not leave us as orphans alone and unloved. Marriage lived out in the hurly burly of everyday life is the proclamation that what Our Lord promised is possible.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Oct 7, 2015||27th Sunday in Ordinary Time 04.10.2015||Listen||Download|