by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
In the Gospel lesson, Jesus uses the creation story as a way of emphasizing the importance of marriage and married life as being an extraordinary kind of life where two people can make themselves one and have such a deep relationship in unity and love that it can go on forever. As we listen to this story and as we refer to the event in the Book of Genesis, the story of all creation, I think it’s important for us to realize that what Jesus is teaching us today is most of all important for those who want to live married life in the fullness of blessing that it can be.
It’s also a very important lesson for all of us because it’s about human relationships. It’s very clear in the story of creation where God at first, as we heard, formed man out of the soil and then provided for that man everything that he needed for his physical life. Then God says, “It’s not good for man to be alone, and so, I will give a helper who will be like him.” Then the story goes on to show how all of the creatures of the world come before Adam, the man, but none of them is a suitable partner.
Then God, according to the story — and it’s not literally true, but it gives us a sense of what God is doing — God takes a part of the man and forms the woman. He gives her to him, and the two become one. Adam is in ecstasy as he discovers this creature, this other person who is different from all the other animals, who is like him. He says, “Now this is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken from man.” That is why man and woman leave their father and mother and attach themselves to each other in marriage.
It’s not just married people who need others. In fact, there’s a beautiful passage in one of the Wisdom books, the Book of Sirach, that points out how important friendship is in our lives. In marriage, friendship can reach a fullness and ultimate goodness that it might not be able to achieve in other relationships. But nevertheless, this writer says, a faithful friend is a secure refuge. Whoever has found one has found a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond all price. We cannot buy friendship. It’s beyond all price…