St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

Communion in Love (on Mark 10. 2-16)

Jesus brings up today the question of divorce. The Bishop talked about this last Sunday. Let us pray for those people who are struggling in their family life. May God give them the strength to persevere, the love, to forgive, and the peace they desire.

The question gives Jesus the opportunity to treat the mystery of Marriage. A Great mystery, according to St. Paul (Cf. Eph. 5.32). This mystery is grounded in the desire of God that man and woman become one flesh. This union is meant to be fruitful, as the psalm says: "Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children will be like olive shoots around your table" (Psalm 128).

I would like to speak about marriage as a sign of the wisdom of God. Why did God make marriage in that way? Why did he make it so good? In asking this we don't try to comprehend the incomprehensible, but to understand what Jesus said.

I - God made man someone in need. God made man not perfect by himself, but he made man capable of perfection by means of communion. It was not good for him to be alone. He needed a partner and a helper. God made woman, so that the two of them would become one flesh in the marriage communion.

God made that communion fruitful. God could have made all men and women at once, hundreds, thousands and millions of people on the earth since the beginning. He didn't want to do so. He wanted to make man and woman co-workers of creation.

II- So in the difference of gender we see two things. God made man and woman different, so that by the very constitution of our bodies, we understand the social dimension of human kind, the fact that we are not meant to be alone, but our perfection is in the communion with each other, our perfection is in the love of our neighbour. The human being is someone who becomes perfect only in relationship with others.

The other thing we see is this: by the difference of gender, God is teaching us that he wants man and woman to collaborate with him in creation. God gave the capacity of giving life, his own capacity of giving life, to men and women. Men and women are capable of being co-creators with God, principles of life together with him.

How is this life communicated? A tree can produce fruits only when it is grown, only when it reaches a certain perfection. In order to give perfection to another, you yourself must have that perfection. The perfection of human life is in communion. For this reason, God wanted that from the communion in love of a man and a woman a new life may come to earth. In other words, a human being must come to life as a result of human perfection. Human perfection is in love. A human being must come to life as a result of love, as a fruit of love.

III- That's why marriage is good. Because it fosters communion in love, which is the perfection of men and women. Marriage is a communion of human beings, not of bodies, but of human beings. It is not only a fleshly love, but a complete and human love, in sickness and in health.

That's why it is good to have children. Because it is a participation in the power of God. God is the only Author of life, but he wanted to share his power of giving life with men and women united in marriage. God gave us the gift of life, and called us to share that gift. That's why there is no greater joy for a mother than to feed her child, than to see that a new human being is alive thanks to her love.

Finally, that's why a human being must be conceived in a natural way. A new life has to come from the fullness of life, and fullness of life is in the communion of man and woman. It is not worthy of a human being to be conceived in another way. He or she deserves to be the fruit of love, the fruit of the communion of a man and a woman, the fruit of the perfection of human life.

And if we had time, we could apply this to our relationship with God. Because as man and woman are called to be one flesh, the Church is the spouse of Jesus, and both are one Body through the Eucharist. And as communion is fullness of life, we are all called to be one in communion with God, and also with our brothers and sisters, and this is eternal life. And as from communion comes new life, in the same way, the one who is united with God in love, is fruitful in giving new children to the Church. If you want to bring people to Church, please pray more, offer your communion for that person, and you will see how you also become a father or a mother of a new Christian.

But there is no time today. Let us ask the Lord to care for our families. May our families be a reflection of the Trinity, in which the distinction doesn't break the unity of love. May the Lord give us the grace of building up communion in our own environments.

Fr. Andrew