The Twenty-Seventy Sunday of Ordinary Time
[Scripture Readings: Gen 2: 18-24; Heb 2: 9-11; Mk 10: 2-12]
A passage I came across in my reading a week or so ago said that beginnings contain what follows from them. That helps explain the attraction beginnings have for us. They elicit the hope we have for what will come in time. Even after time and experience have tempered our enthusiasm and given us a more realistic perspective on life, looking back to the hope we had when beginning some activity can be a source of renewed energy.
In the beginning God saw that his creation was good. He crowned creation with man and woman and entrusted creation to them to bring it to perfection in union with him. Their union was a sacrament of the union of all creation and especially of the union God intended between himself and all of Adam and Eve’s descendants, including ourselves. However, time and experience did more than temper that expectation. Because Adam and Eve chose to follow the way of self-will rather than follow God’s will, a fundamental division ruptured the union that God intended. There was division between Adam and Eve, there was division between Adam and Eve and the rest of creation, there was division within Adam and Eve and most of all there was division between Adam and Eve and God. Yet God did not abandon Adam and Eve. He gave them hope that somehow in some way union would prevail over division.
In our own way we all carry that beginning with us and we relive that original drama. We want what is good, but we want it in our own way. To the extent that our ways are the ways of self-will our ways will come into conflict and divisions between us will persist. Nevertheless God has given marriage as a sacrament of unity and a foundation for hope for the unity we desire. We need not romanticize marriage as our society tends to do when it is not fostering a cynical attitude toward marriage, in order to see in marriage a hope for unity. Overcoming the divisions that are now part of the human condition only comes through suffering and sacrifice. Indeed it is precisely the self-sacrificing love that overcomes division and brings about unity that our society so desperately needs to see in order to have a realistic hope for communion.
In my own vocation, which does not include marriage, it has been a source of hope and encouragement in times of struggle and discouragement to be able to look at the seniors. They are living witnesses who say in ways that words cannot that the effort and the struggle are worthwhile, that living this life is still possible. Marriage has the same witness for all of us. In a time when our society tends to play loose with commitment and fidelity we need to be able to see living witness who say in ways that words cannot that this is what commitment and fidelity mean. Yes, there is still struggle. Yes, there is still suffering. Yes, there are still failures. But we can still have hope that union will prevail over division. May we have eyes that see and ears that hear.