The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him. He said to them in reply…, “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh…What God has joined together, no man must separate.”
Some people would love to convince you that nothing is black and white. But as the world gets grayer and darker, you can only wonder why.
God made them male and female. Marriage is between a man and a woman. And that is not coming from me. It is coming from God. Like it or not. There is no gray in this black and white matter.
The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him” (Gen 2:18). And He did. He made a woman. But I have always wondered why it was not good for man to be alone? Wouldn’t every man be happy with a TV in front of him and a can of beer by his side? Probably. Ok, most definitely. But even though man could live alone, it was not good for him to be alone. It was not good because he would never be able to fall in love. And if he never fell in love, he would never grow and improve himself. For this reason, God created a woman.
Bone from my bone. The poetic language used to describe the creation of woman is absolutely beautiful. When God created Eve, He did not create her from Adam’s head. Otherwise, Eve would have been superior to Adam. Nor did God create Eve from Adam’s foot. If He had, then Eve would have been Adam’s servant. She would be serving him at his feet. Instead, God created Eve from Adam’s rib, from his side.
Adam and Eve were created to be side by side. Eve was created to complement Adam. She is his better half in every possible way. She is what makes his life so meaningful. She is as mysterious to him as she is revealing, for they will experience from each other what love is.
Why do we fall in love? Because we love who the other is and what they bring to our lives. This is what makes love so interesting, so intellectual, so spiritual and physical and psychological. This is why we can love someone with all our heart, mind, body and soul.
People fall in love with one another because they complement each other. They eventually get married because they want the other all to themselves! They can no longer imagine life without them. What makes us fall in love with someone are the most simple of things: the way they smile at us, speak to us, touch us, laugh, solve problems, push us, motivate us, encourage us, calm us, inspire us, treat us, etc… We fall in love with someone not only for what they give to us but what they make us.
The two become one flesh. How can two people become one? Immediately. The same way Christ became one with us: with nails. Vows and promises are like nails. They nail spouses together…till death do us part. As nails nailed Jesus to His Cross; that is, to us - the sinner - till death do us part, so vows nail the groom to his bride, till death do us part. What God has joined together, no human being must separate. Yes, this is terrifying. But the Lord would be the first to say "It’s worth it".
Vows are what make a marriage predictable and exciting; painful and rewarding; beautiful and demanding; tear jerking when spoken and tearful when lived. Vows make a marriage. Vows are what made Christ’s relationship to his Apostles profound and fruitful: “Do not be afraid. I will be with you till the end of time.” It worked. The Apostles never feared again and remained faithful to the Lord till the end of their lives.
This type of love reminds me of only one other type of love: the love a mother has for her child.
This morning, I celebrated the Mother-Daughter Mass at Ursuline Academy, an all-girls Catholic High School. High School girls have a tendency to exaggerate or distort the truth about their moms…and in a very insecure way.
I told the girls that they had to stop lying about their moms; that is, they had to stop saying, “If my mother ever knew what I did, she would kill me!” I told the kids, “That’s not true. Don’t you realize that she would never kill you but instead die for you?”
I then pointed to the crucifix next to the altar and said to those present, “The crucifix is not only the most beautiful symbol of marriage; it is also the greatest symbol of the love between a mom and her daughter. Your mom has voluntarily nailed her life to you. There is nothing you could do to her, nothing you could say to her, that would ever separate her from you. She will always be with you. She will never let you go. She will never leave you alone!” At that, the girls began to chuckle. I knew why. Every teenage daughter wants to be left alone and can't wait to leave home! But I told them the truth. I said, “Don’t worry. There will be a moment in your life when your mother will leave you alone…the same moment that Christ left his Apostles: when he came down from the Cross.
Christ's love for us is not only unconditional; it is inseparable.