Fr. Ron Serban - 7/10/2018

Genesis 2:18-24closeGenesis 2:18-24 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)
closeGenesis 2:18-24closeGenesis 2:18-24 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)
; Psalms 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'; Hebrews 2:9-11closeHebrews 2:9-11 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, (ESV) closeHebrews 2:9-11closeHebrews 2:9-11 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, (ESV) But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, (ESV) ; Mark 10:2-16closeMark 10:2-16 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to spanorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of spanorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever spanorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she spanorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” Let the Children Come to Me 13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (ESV) closeMark 10:2-16closeMark 10:2-16 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to spanorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of spanorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever spanorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she spanorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” Let the Children Come to Me 13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (ESV) And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to spanorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of spanorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever spanorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she spanorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” Let the Children Come to Me 13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (ESV)

“Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mk 10:9closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST')

I attended a wedding this summer. It seemed a special privilege, since I did not have to preside, or “do” the ceremony. The bride was a former student of mine, one of those young people you hold always as a luminous presence in your life. It was beautiful in every sense: in its simplicity, in the strong words of the celebrant-homilist, in the splendor of bride and groom, in the families all gathered and garnered.
I thought of that wedding as I read this Sunday’s scriptures. “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Intimacy, relationship—the bottom of our being. “God took out one of Adam’s ribs.” Adam spoke, “This one, at last, is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” The two of them became one body.
A psalm sings: “Your spouse shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; your children shall be like olive plants about your table. Behold thus is a human blessed. May you see your children’s children.”
What act of great moment is remembered here? I thought of the young bride and groom. What was it that they wanted to say to each other and the world? They wanted to say “forever.”
There is something that reaches the godly in such holy desire. When we abide in love, our hearts arch to the infinite. Rilke said, “Lovers, you touch pure permanence underneath.”
Yet marriages fail. You’d think that fact alone might tame our dreams of forever. Yet I have never met an engaged couple who wanted to give their fu-tures to each other say “till it doesn’t work out, till you get sick, till you go broke, till you break down.”
What is it about us that wants to say “forever”? To say “eternally”? To say “till the end of time”?
Jesus was given a test by the Pharisees. It was a conundrum about eternal love and life. He asks them in return, somehow aware of their stubbornness, about the judgment of Moses, who permitted divorce. But Jesus digs down to the well of our hearts’ desires. “They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore let no man separate what God has joined.” “Whoever divorces a wife and marries another commits adultery; and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another commits adultery.”
It seems so clear and fast and abrupt. It seems even cruel to some who hear it. And surely painful. But isn’t this always true with matters of love? Would any of us, bent on a life of covenant, settle for less?
Which brings us to the lapse of our loves, of our marriages. Some endings we call annulments (a term that others might deride; they say, why not call it a divorce—what it is—instead of pretending it is something else?) Others think that annulments are a farce, easily purchased, easily forgotten.
Well, they are not purchased, not a farce, and not easy. Just ask someone who has gone through one. An annulment is our own churchly attempt to deal with our own law, our own promises, and our desire to honor and obey Jesus as well as Genesis. It is not so much a judgment about our relationship to God (there are some divorced and remarried people, without benefit of annulment, who are, no doubt, far closer to God than the likes of myself, having never been married) as it is a statement about our relationship to each other and to our own intentions. We want to honor and respect our own words.
So an annulment process is an attempt to determine whether two people were, as a matter of fact, free and able to choose irrevocably in God to become “one flesh.” A divorce may mean many other things: that two who actually made an eternal covenant slowly grew apart, that they had irreconcilable differences, that one person could no longer abide another, or that they somehow never adequately and wholly chose to become irrevocably one. An annulment says only the last.
We Catholics have our liturgies, our communions, our Eucharists. Some of us attending are divorced and remarried and place it all before God, not knowing really whether we have put asunder what God had once joined in us. Some have annulments, a human judgment offered only after long analysis and painful remembrance. Some of us weep in the back, not approaching the altar of union. Some trust God and abstain. Some trust God and partake. Few, thank God, judge.
For no matter what our rightful relationship to our church, its laws and traditions, we all pray in an assembly of believers who are sinners; and, most assuredly, we all stand before our good and great God as children.
And Jesus spoke to the child in each of us. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them. It is to just such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs. I assure you that whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a little child shall not enter it.”
“Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.”
John Kavanaugh, SJ

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