Genesis 2: 18-24 Hebrews 2: 9-11 Mark 10: 2-12
I am truly fascinated by how a simple story, a story presumably handed down for centuries by oral tradition before being recorded in writing, describes a very basic fact about the relationship between male and female. Although simply told, it provides profound insight and a basic truth about the relationship between God and humanity.
What we heard today from the Book of Genesis, the very first book of the Bible, is one of two stories about the nature of creation of mankind. That creation was not just some random occurrence but the result of an action by a creative God. These are not, however, accounts about “how” it happened. We must be clear about that. Rather these accounts are attempts to instruct us about the “why”it happened – revealing the truth of the “why” of creation.
The first truth is that mankind, as a reflection of its Creator, like anything we might make reflects us as the maker in some way, needs to live in a relationship. It is not good for the man to be alone. All of the rest of creation does not provide a suitable partner, one who will complete and complement the man. The story illustrates that the fitting partner will come from the very essence of man.
The second truth is that although from the same essence, there is also a difference. Two humans are described as existing: male and female. Rather than being opposed to one another, they accomplish completeness from union, from joining. The two become one with the potential of generating life.
The third truth, then, is that while there is a difference, there is also a desire, a drive for unity. Although each of us is unique, each is different from everyone else, what is fundamental to what we are as creatures of God is the desire, the drive, to be joined in relationships, reflecting God but also enhancing the creation of our God.
It is this understanding that is the basis of the teaching of Jesus. The union of a true marriage as committed, faithful and permanent is the sign of the union God seeks with all of humanity.
What we heard from the Letter to the Hebrews illustrates the depth of this desire. God, in Jesus Christ, made lower than the angels, became one of us. This is the only way to communicate to us how much God desires to be one with us. Jesus Christ is the leader of the way of repairing the rupture in the relationship between God and mankind that took place because of mankind’s rejection of God by sin.
It is the ministry and mission of Jesus that is directed to re-establishing the relationship between God and ourselves. At the same time, it is the ministry and mission of Jesus that serves as the model of the relationship that is to exist between man and woman in marriage. That is why Jesus holds the union of marriage to be so sacred. In a true marriage that is committed, permanent and faithful we gain an insight into what the relationship between God and mankind, God and us, is to be. The self emptying, total giving of Jesus Christ which is culminated on the Cross is the model of the willingness that is to be shown in marriage: the willingness to trust, to be open, to be true partners with one another. This not only builds and strengthens the relationship with one another but it also begins to fulfill what we are to do as images of and reflections of our good and gracious God.