+IF WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER, GOD REMAINS IN US 27th Sunday, 2018
Our readings this morning speak to us of two profound truths of our faith, the sacredness of marriage and of Christ’s own marriage with the human family. At the heart of both is a loving relationship, of God with us and of husband with wife. As St John tells us in his first letter to the Church, if we love one another, God’s “love is brought to perfection in us.”
Never before has it been so important within the Church and in the society of our time, that loving relationship be fostered and encouraged. It is within the close relationship of family life, above all in the love between parents, that children’s lives are so carefully formed and lasting values imparted to them. These are especially life changing and fulfilling when they are grounded in an awareness of being a people deeply loved by God in Christ Jesus.
This holds to be true for monastic community life as well. When our relationships are imbued with a living sense of Christ’s presence in our lives, of his self-giving love, the bonds among us are both firm and lasting, enabling each one of us to make the best use of our gifts and talents. The great gift of living in community is that it constantly shows us how to channel our individual gifts away from self-interests into mutual up building.
Our Genesis narrative of how Eve was formed from a rib taken from the side of Adam is a beautiful reminder of how close the relationship between husband and wife really is. It is also a reminder of just how close our relationship with one another can be as members of the human family. When, in Jesus’ time it had become all too easy for a husband to divorce his wife, he reminded his disciples and all of us, of God’s intent from the beginning of creation. Belief in the sacredness of marriage leads to a profound transformation in each of the partners as they allow love to overcome their differences and free them from their self-centered inclinations.
This can only happen if their love for one another is grounded in Christ’s own love for the Church, God’s own love for the human family. Only if we see clearly “what God has joined together,” will we not attempt to separate. Again this brings us right back to the sacredness of all human relationships which Jesus is conscious of in all that unfolds during his mission. When children are brought to him and his very own disciples begin to object or rebuke the parents doing so, Jesus becomes indignant and upset. It is so easy to treat women and children in an undignified way and if we buy into society’s standards, great harm comes to both.
Jesus is reminding us constantly of the dignity and worth of every human being. This is the basis of authentic relationships, reminding us that unless we “accept the kingdom of God like a child,” we will not enter it. If God’s life is going to abide in us, is going to be brought to perfection in us, then our love for one another must be unfailing. Isn’t this what our participating in the Body and Blood of Christ at this altar is to bring about, learning to love even as he has loved us. Amen
Gen. 2:18-24; Heb. 2:9-11; Mark 10:2-16