Sunday, October 4, 2015

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time: HIGH FIDELITY

"But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female."

Responding to a question posed to him by the Pharisees, who intended it as a trap, Jesus reiterates the original plan of God for marriage, and reveals the beauty of man's primordial vocation to love. He exposes how the hardness of the human heart could obscure the beauty of the blueprint established by the Creator, and therefore makes the encounter between him and his detractors into a platform to affirm the perennial truth about marriage, the distinction and complementarity between man and woman, and the blessing of family life.

Jesus remits to the account of the book of Genesis, and starts with the distinction between man and woman, a distinction which was meant to lead to complementarity between the two, and which leads to both becoming one flesh. Implicit within this is man's vocation to love: "It is not good for the man to be alone". Loved into existence by the Creator, the human person is a being which would always need to be affirmed fulfilled by the other in love. He and she is called to love, and marriage is a beautiful avenue in which this vocation is fulfilled. In marriage, we see two unique individuals, distinct yet complementary in their masculinity and femininity, precisely because of this, and also out of love, decide to become one flesh. As one flesh, they live for each other. FIDELITY is one characteristic of this unifying love, and it is this fidelity to each other which makes both fruitful in their marriage, allowing them to grow as persons, and allowing new persons to be formed as a fruit of their love. The family therefore becomes something that is founded upon the fidelity of the love between man and woman. 

The readings however do not merely point to the truth of marriage, of what God had intended for marriage to be.  As a reality, married love furthers our understanding of how God himself loves us. In Christ, married love was meant to be a sign of a higher reality: that of God's faithful love for man. As a sacrament, a sign of grace, marriage between man and woman becomes a manifestation of the love of a faithful and loving God towards man. It is a love which is not defeated nor vanquished by man's repeated infidelity or ingratitude. God loves and saves, and he will always do so, because he is faithful. This faithful love has been shown to us in Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God, He “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone, as the Second Reading for this Sunday states. Tasting death, Christ therefore opens the gates of paradise to man, who by his infidelity and sin had caused them to be closed shut. God's faithful love, manifested in Christ and in his redeeming sacrifice on the cross, restores us back to life, so that we, who were made never to be alone (as stated in Genesis), would live always in the loving company of God. This is the blessing of which the Responsorial Psalm speaks when it says "May the Lord bless us all the days of our life". We are blessed when we live our days in the company of the one who loves us. 

To end, this Sunday therefore reveals to us not merely the Savior's teaching about the truth of married love, but also how this love between man and woman ought to manifest to us how much God loves us in Jesus Christ. It is a faithful love which is not diminished by our sins, but one which rather calls to remain in the embrace of a God who is loving, merciful and ever-faithful.