27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Book of Genesis is the source of the first reading for this weekend. Among the first five books of the Bible, Genesis reveals great facts. God is the creator of all. He gives life.
God created humanity in the genders of male and female. God willed that the two genders compliment each other and live with each other. Marriage was, and is, the most perfect union of a man and woman.
Unfortunately, the Scriptures at times are accused of belittling women. Certainly, the Scriptures were all developed with varying cultures contexts, and to an extent they were influenced by these cultural contexts.
Both the Old and New Testaments are nothing less than revolutionary in their revelation that all humans, regardless of gender, possess equal dignity, because all are created by God and infused with an eternal soul.
Throughout the history of salvation, from Genesis to the last moment recorded in the New Testament, paganism was a factor. Among pagans, women were little better than animals. The dignity of women, equal to that of men, is the meaning of the story that Eve was created from Adam’s rib.
This reading also is a powerful testament, indeed from very ancient times, to the historic Jewish and Christian concept of marriage. It is a union, created by God, and never should it be defiled by exploitation, selfishness or insincerity. It is the union that blesses procreation and places it within the divine plan.
For its second reading, the Church this weekend offers us a passage from the Epistle to the Hebrews. According to the reading, each person is created only “a little lower than the angels,” although this condition will change. Humans who love God, and are faithful to God, one day will rejoice in the presence of God, just as the angels rejoice. The key is Jesus. Jesus loves all people as brothers and sisters. Those who are loyal to God respond to this great love.
St. Mark’s Gospel provides the third reading. It is a familiar passage. The question centers upon the legality before God of divorce itself, not the grounds for divorce. Often it is assumed that this question put to Jesus opened an entirely new debate, and that in replying, Jesus set aside the Law of Moses.
Actually, the debate was vigorously underway even among those persons learned in the Mosaic tradition.
Jesus appeared in the role of the divinely constituted and divinely empowered representative of God the Father. He put the question in its proper context. Marriage is God’s creation, created for a man and a woman to unite with each other ultimately in serving God.
In the same passage, though on another occasion, Jesus blesses the children. God is the author of life. The coming of each new generation continues the dignity of humanity, and the coming of each new generation proclaims the majesty and love of God.
Fundamentally, these readings call us to divinely revealed truths so often and so outrageously ignored in the world. God, the Creator, is supreme. No one can follow a standard opposite God’s will.
Since each human being is God’s precious child, God’s priceless masterpiece of creation, no one, and no society, has the right to demean or compromise this dignity. It especially is a powerful thought in the face of legalized abortion on demand and the movement to allow euthanasia.
Secondly, marriage comes from God. Children are indispensable in any concept of marriage drawn from Christian tradition.
The increasingly accepted option of divorce has clouded popular views of marriage. Years of accepting contraception has dulled for us the sense that children are God’s gift and come from God.
We are called to see life, marriage and procreation in the light of God’s will.
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