27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Each of us are created by God ‘for our own sake’ that is to say our purpose, the reason we are created, is to become fully human, to realise our humanity, to be what God made us to be.
We are made in the image and likeness of God. And it is Jesus Christ, true God and true man, who reveals God to us. At the heart of what Jesus reveals is the Blessed Trinity. The truth that the one God is a community of three divine persons Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a communion of three equal persons giving and receiving love.
Therefore each human person achieves their purpose, becomes fully human, completes the image of God in which they are made by entering into communion with another person and giving and receiving love. That is why Adam exclaims in the first reading “At last”. There is another person, Eve, to whom he can give himself, and together they can become truly human by perfecting the image of God in which they are made.
The highest expression of self giving love, indeed, that which makes it possible, is Jesus. By taking a human nature, by obeying God and serving man, to the point of offering himself out of love on the cross and by his resurrection Jesus raises his human nature to be what it was created to be. Through the sacrament of baptism He unites us to his cross and resurrection so that with him and through him our humanity too may be what it is meant to be. Now this, the cross, is the heart of Jesus’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage in today’s Gospel, his teaching that once you are properly married it is against his will, the will of God to divorce and marry again.
In the sacrament of marriage we see creation perfected, we see the truth of what it is to be a human person in the communion of self giving love. This is demanding and exacting. It is a way of life, a life of self giving, selfless love which will inevitably bring you into conflict with a society which is anti-life, which is selfish, which values possessions over people and pleasure before the service of others. This is why the disciples in the Gospel find it a difficult teaching – for the same reason they find it difficult when Jesus teaches about the cross. But it is central, the sacrament of marriage participates in, shares in the cross. And participating in the cross, that fullest expression of what it means to be human, the sacrament of marriage draws from Jesus Christ that faithfulness and unity and indissolubility which is necessary not only for the sake of children or the well being of society but which is of the very nature of love.
Jesus is the unconditional, forgiving, faithful love with which God loves us. By this love, on the cross, he binds to himself mankind. An irrevocable, unchangeable, indissoluble union of Christ with each one of us and with his bride the Church. Christian married couples are called, they receive a vocation, not just in today’s Gospel but throughout the Holy Scriptures to participate in this indissoluble union, to realise what it means to be human, to embrace with Christ the cross and make the love of God present in the world.
The bible begins with the union of Adam and Eve; it ends with the marriage feast of the lamb and his bride the Church.
There is sin, there are failures, mistakes and disasters, the Lord Jesus who speaks in today’s gospel knows that, indeed he has known sin, been more intimately affected by it than any of us. He knows exactly what sin can do. And none of us can ever forget that from the cross he asks forgiveness for each of us who by our sins crucify him. Yet with all this knowledge and compassion – Jesus, the Word of God still proclaims today’s gospel, divorce and re-marriage is wrong. We have to take this seriously and so we must never neglect to pray for and to thank married couples for their courage, their faithfulness and their witness. To proclaim with the Lord that marriage is for life and to do all we can to support those who struggle with this great vocation.