God is a Community of Beings
May 29, 2018
I am a bit surprised that the Church has not elected to use the creation of humanity as the first reading today. In the story in Genesis God creates humanity in his image: male and female. They are to live in community. Therefore a man shall leave his mother and father and the woman her home and the two shall become one. In the sacrament of marriage the Church sees this union as one of the best expressions of the reality of God. In a very real way we see two persons uniting into a singular relationship, when in their relationship new life comes into the world we see what the Trinity best looks like. God is a community of beings.
When Jesus was asked if divorce was permissible he quotes this passage in Genesis and adds that what God has joined no one can divide. He sees that there is a divine reality that is created in the coming together of a man and a woman. Throughout most of my life I repeated the teaching that I received that in the sacrament of marriage God provides the grace necessary for the couple to stay together. I did not know how, but that is what I was taught by others, so it must be true. As I have matured and understood the reality of sacraments I have begun realizing that the sacrament of marriage is the source of blessing for the Church. The couple makes real who God is for us. As we witness them in good times and bad staying with each other we are assured that this is the way God is for us. He is not walking away from us because we screw up. He is not getting so angry that he is going to destroy us. He is our spouse who loves us throughout the mess of our lives, just as we witness in the relationship between husband and wife.
In the newest teaching of the Church on the sacrament of marriage she encourages marriages to take place during the Sunday Mass because it is such a marvelous witness to the reality of God’s relationship with us. In the end, the Church looks at what heaven will be like, it describes a wedding feast instead of a liturgy. For too many years we have held the liturgy with all its rules and rituals as the true example of heaven, not going back to our biblical roots as the marriage feast that truly captures the reality of our future. What a great gift the sacrament of marriage is for us!
I say all this as I give thanks for my 35 years of priesthood tomorrow. Yes, I know that priesthood has also been a great gift to the Church and I appreciate the ability to have served her throughout the years, but I also want all married couples to appreciate how they too bless the Church in their union.