Today’s gospel had me pause often as I find the subject to be touchy, divorce! I had almost a full page written out then I stopped, read, and erased everything. This happened to me twice. I’m not going to lie, I’m happy I’m not the having to preach today’s gospel. We live in a time where divorce is a common and acceptable practice. We’ve all heard the statistics; fifty percent of marriages end in divorce and over sixty-five percent of second marriages end in divorce. I researched these statistics. I couldn’t find anything to confirm about second marriages, but I was able to find that in Canada the rate of divorce is forty percent, but only because the “practice” of marriage is on the decline. Did you know that the average marriage in Canada today only lasts fourteen years? I’ve been married for five and according to this statistic, I can expect to possibly be divorced in nine years. What a distressing thought! Instead of focusing on the gospel, I want to particularly focus on the beauty of what God did for man when he created the woman (and I don’t mean in the girl power kind of way).
The creation story from the book of Genesis speaks of the woman being created from the man’s rib and from “the bones of my bones and the flesh of my flesh”. It states that “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner”. How wonderful that woman was created as a companion and a partner for man. Her being created directly from his rib and his flesh speaks to the unity of the relationship. Woman was created as a compliment to man, as an integral part of his being. This creation story also speaks of the spiritual ideal where both man and woman come together and become one flesh. This does not imply in any way diminishment, as though the woman disappears into the man or vice-versa but rather that something new is created in which there is increased greatness for the two that become one. To quote Pope Francis: “This is what marriage is all about – Man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the wife has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man”.
Marriage is a celebration of creation and of God’s love, it is clearly a gift. People believe that marriage is just any two people making a commitment to one another when in fact the spousal bond between two baptized people is elevated to a sacrament and this sacrament builds up our church community and our society.