In preparing for this reflection, I had to pause and think a lot about our readings. I realised that it must be difficult to preach today’s Gospel. We live in a time where divorce is a common and acceptable practice. We’ve all heard the statistics, over 50% of marriages end in divorce and over 65% of second marriages end in divorce. I want to particularly focus on the beauty of what God did for man when he created the woman.
In this account of our creation, we’re told that the woman was made from “the bones of my bones and the flesh of my flesh”. We’re told that God took one rib from the man to make him a partner and from that rib he created the woman. She was created so that the man would not be alone, so that the man had a helper and a partner. This speaks first about the relationship between man and woman and their original unity. Woman, therefore, was created as a complement to man, as an integral part of man, and as a powerful and influential companion for man. This creation account also speaks to a spiritual ideal: that those united in marriage really are “one”. We all should know how difficult it is to become one and remain true to oneself. This becoming one does not imply diminishment, as though the woman disappears into the man, or vice versa. Rather, something new is created, which is an increased greatness for the two who have become one.
To quote Pope Benedict XVI – Vatican City, 26 January 2013: “The Code of Canon Law defines the natural reality of marriage as the irrevocable covenant between a man and a woman. Mutual trust, in fact, is the indispensable basis of any agreement or covenant. On a theological level, the relationship between faith and marriage has an even deeper meaning. Even though a natural reality, the spousal bond between two baptised persons has been elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament.” For any of us, the challenge of this Sunday and its readings is very simple: Is my faith alive? Do I really seek the living God? Does my life reflect a living relationship with God and a constant striving to understand His word and put it into action in my life?