"Breaking Open the Word" :
James Cavanagh is the director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-Area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. His weekly column, "Breaking Open the Word," is syndicated by the Denver Catholic Register, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver. Click here to visit the Office of Evangelization & Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Denver.
October 7: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
• Genesis 2:18-24
Synopsis: This week’s readings focus on marriage. The reading from Genesis is about the creation of Eve. When Adam sees her he exclaims: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!” Adam sees her as a person like himself, equal in dignity though clearly different. It’s precisely because of her difference that Eve complements Adam, enabling him to fulfill his vocation of love. In the union of their bodies human nature is complete, reflecting the love and fecundity of God. Adam had companionship with the animals, but only with Eve did he have communion.
In this week’s Gospel Christ is questioned about divorce. He uses the opportunity to explain the true meaning of marriage in God’s plan. Divorce was allowed by Moses because of people’s “hardness of heart,” that is, their lack of faith. But Jesus explains that divorce was never part of God’s plan. Man and woman were meant to be a gift for each other. And He most certainly never meant that women should be treated like property and simply discarded with a “certificate of divorce.”
Key verse: "And the two shall become one flesh” (Mark 10:8).
Catechism of the Catholic Church: “In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning. By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God” (Nos. 1614-1615).
Pope Benedict XVI: “God created us male and female, equal in dignity, but also with respective and complementary characteristics, so that the two might be a gift for each other, might value each other and might bring into being a community of love and life. It is love that makes the human person the authentic image of the Blessed Trinity” (Homily, World Meeting of Families, June 3).
Life application: Who would’ve thought that marriage would become such a contentious issue? Marriage has always had its difficulties, but no one ever questioned what it was. Rooted in nature and the complementarity of the sexes, marriage is and always has been a union of man and woman. Until now, it was a self-evident fact of life. Not anymore. Regardless of what other people think or what the government does, the Catholic Church will continue to defend the dignity of marriage and its definition. As Catholics we owe it to God, our children and to society to defend marriage by patiently explaining its nature and purpose, especially to those whose hearts are hard.
James Cavanagh is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. Cavanagh’s column is distributed by the Denver Catholic Register.
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