Reflection for Sunday, October 8, 2000: 27th week in Ordinary Time.

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Authors
Gillick, Larry, S.J.
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2000-10-08
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en_US
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All the sacraments of the Catholic Church involve the gentle touch of Jesus upon various points of our human frailty. Reconciliation and The Sacrament of the Sick are obvious contacts between the divine, infinitely loving Jesus and spiritually and physically weakened humanity. The Creator can not leave His hands off us.|In today's First Reading we hear a familiar, but always puzzling story of the creation of a woman from the rib of a man. We hear God's being aware that the "man" was incomplete, "It is not good for the man to be alone." God offers the "man" various animals to accompany him, but they failed. When he experiences the "woman" he feels a union with her which begins the "sacramental-touching" of God.|Jesus is confronted again by the religious leaders whom Mark uses as a foil or setting, so that Jesus' teachings might be more clear. This time they ask Him about whether or not Jesus allows divorce. They know that Moses did allow this practice, but Jesus quickly forces them back to a more ancient teaching based in Genesis.|There are four blest vocations within the Catholic Church, marriage, priesthood, Consecrated Religious life and the single state. As of yet, this last state is not blest by a specific sacrament, yet all four states cry out from the center of the lives of those who lead them, for the gentle embrace of Jesus. We see Jesus welcome, bless and embrace the "little child" at the end of today's Gospel. This gesture describes the person, personality and heart of the Creator and Redeemer. All the vocational calls within the Christian Community are based both, in the incompleteness of the "man" and the embrace of that human condition by Jesus.|The Sacraments are for our living with the incomplete. The "man" found an experience of union by becoming "one flesh," but that union for him and for all, married and unmarried alike, is temporary and must be. Ann Sexton, a modern Catholic poet once wrote that, the marital union is experienced as an eternal knot and that God, in His perversity, reaches in and unties it. The blessedness of our vocations flowing from Baptism is that how ever we walk, we will eventually meet ourselves as the "man" did. This every-day meeting with self is often disappointing, because we find our incompleteness. It is precisely there, that we are most free to experience God's "sacramental" touch; He can not keep His hands off us.|These readings then are more about our common struggles with living our human condition than about the mysteries of the life of wives and husbands. Visiting the local bookstores, advice columns, radio-talk-shows and all TV Soaps, will convince us easily that living out the wedding is more difficult than planning for it. I am not married, so who am I to talk! I will anyway, of course. As with the Ordained and Singles, married people also must find "blessed-Disappointment" and not be disappointed when they find it. Their burden is that the spiritual, psychological and physical union experienced in that vocation, comes so close to the Divine union and then resolves back into separateness. Newly-married husbands may carry their newly-wedded wives over the newly-painted threshold, but they soon find out that there are some thresholds to which they can lead their partners, but that is as far as they can accompany them.|The Sacrament of Marriage seems to be most blessed when there are the experiences of the oddness, the mystery, the fragility and faith between the two trying to live their union. A cynic once wrote that men and women spend their lives searching for the perfect partner and meanwhile they get married. The perfect partner is the one who reveals to the other their common need for the gentle touch of Jesus. This kind of spirituality and thinking will not sell or be very popular on TV of course, but few things are of which Jesus spoke and lived.|All the Sacraments are for us, the living, who find living worth praying about. The Sacraments are for those who have the wisdom of reverencing the fragility of their humanity as does the Creator Who can not keep His loving hands to Himself.|"The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to those who are searching for his love"
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University Ministry, Creighton University.
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These reflections may not be sold or used commercially without permission. Personal or parish use is permitted.
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