Thursday, October 5, 2006

It Was True Love From the Beginning

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 8, 2006
Reflections on the Readings by Dennis Hankins
Readings: Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 128:1-6
Hebrews 2:9-11; Mark 10:2-12

It Was True Love from the Beginning

t is only hardness of heart that keeps us from God’s love for us.

Love is not measured by acquisition. Adam’s exclamation of joy upon seeing Eve is born out of feeling complete and entire and now lacking nothing. This is a mystery and too many fail to plumb its depths.

Included in this wedding ‘made in a garden’ is the picture of the future of humanity. Just as from Adam’s side, created from his rib, came Eve, so from Christ’s side born of blood and water, came the Church. A sense of divine life and order is heard in these words of Adam, "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Just as there is to be only one wife for Adam, so Christ shall have only one bride. It is the Church, which Jesus in his incarnation espoused to himself. And as Adam and Eve were not ashamed in each other’s presence, the second Adam is not ashamed to call us his people.

The hardness of heart, which produced the opportunity of divorce, is the same hardness of heart that has given us 40,000 denominations and counting. But from the beginning of creation it was not so. Our separation from one another is not good for us nor good for the life of the world. To allow ourselves to be content with things as they are is not good either. He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. And in His high priestly prayer, Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and His Father are one. What a glorious hope! What a glorious mystery! What blessed contemplation!

Marriage has taken a terrible beating. Wrecked homes and ruined lives strewn along the path of life suggest a wasteland of despair. Far from the environs of the Garden of God, humanity imagines new definitions of marriage. Where does divorce, abortion on demand, and gay marriage come from? Laws are created to accommodate the hardness of our hearts. But the wounded side of Adam of the Garden of God testifies against our multiple lovers. Deep in the hollow caverns of our heart there is a faint memory of a time when love was exciting, rewarding, and loyal.

A measure of forgiveness would go a long way to heal our wounded hearts. When a husband leaves his father and mother to cleave to his wife ‘they are no longer two, but one flesh.’ If this is what God has joined together, then let not anything nor anyone separate us from one another. Grow old together and forsake bitterness. Marriage of this sort is a mystery, but I speak of Christ and his Church. Christ is human and divine. In his humanity he received our sufferings and became one with us. All of humanity is touched by his all-embracing love. On the cross Christ defeated the shame of our alienation from God. Through baptism we partake of his divine nature and exchange a heart of stone for a heart of flesh. This is joy unspeakable and full of Glory.

Let us return to our first love and to the love that first loved us.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, you invite us to your banqueting table and your banner over us is love. May we grow in our love of you and live in love with one another. Amen.

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