Well, I don’t want to talk about divorce today, so I will focus on our first reading from the Book of Genesis.
Two questions: first of all, why does God create the woman from the man’s rib bone? God did this on purpose for a reason. According to Medieval commentators on the scriptures, probably following earlier Jewish commentators, God did not create the woman from the man’s head bone, because then she would be above him and his superior. And God did not create the woman from the man’s foot bone, because then she would be below him, and his inferior. Rather God creates the woman from the man’s rib bone for a special reason: to show that her proper place is at his side. They are to go through life together as partners, and as equals. That is God’s original intention. God is an early supporter of women’s equal rights.
Second question: Why does God create the woman? Because it is not good for the man to be alone. First God creates the “various wild animals and various birds of the air,” the aardvarks, and the giraffes, the buffalo and the coyotes, the rabbits and the snakes, … “but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.” Undeterred, not discouraged, God tries again, this time creating the woman: at last the suitable partner for the man!
Now notice that God creates the animals, and then the woman, because it is not good for the man to be alone. Since woman had not yet been created in this story in Genesis, we could really say that it is not good for the human person to be alone. And we all know that. Everyone of us, at some time or another has experienced loneliness. Anyone here NEVER been lonely? Of course not.
Why is loneliness so universal? It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, rich or poor, gay or straight, man or woman, black or white, extrovert or introvert, short or tall, liberal or conservative, Aggie or Longhorn fan, American or foreigner: It is still true that it is not good for the human person to be alone. Loneliness hurts. People will put up with a lot to avoid it. I remember in another state working on a marriage case of a woman in the parish, and the woman had nine previous marriages. She had been in the military and went through marriages one right after another. Most lasted less than a year. And she knew, especially after about the third, that they were not going to work
out. But she still kept marrying. I asked her, “Why”. Because, she said, she did not want to be alone.
Loneliness hurts. Why is that????
Well the answer is simple. It is because we were created in the image and likeness of God. And God is always about relationship. That is what “defines” God, the relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Since the Trinitarian God is a relationship of the Lover, the Beloved and the Love between them – all one LOVE – and since we are created in God’s image, we naturally yearn and long to be in relationship. We are not complete in our self. And that is why it is not good for the man – or woman – to be alone.
Physically we need each other, emotionally and psychologically we need each other, and spiritually we need each other. Sometimes other people are a pain, a bother, a nuisance, a difficulty. But we still need each other. As Barbara Streisand sang once upon a time long ago; “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” We need each other. We are not complete in ourselves. We are created in the image of the Most Blessed Trinity.
Fortunately, we are all members of the Body of Christ, intimately linked by the Holy Spirit into one Body. Further, our destiny is to be in relationship with God for all eternity. We are not alone.
Today, at St. Austin’s Parish, we have the opportunity to Affirm our Membership. Membership is all about belonging and Belonging is important. We do not have to face all alone a culture where the default option for values is consumerism. We – you and I – are members of a community, a body, with a very different take on values. We are a community of FAITH, with very different values than those of the world. I ask you now to affirm that belonging, that membership.
In your pews are folders with Affirmation of Membership Forms, and the updated Ministries brochure. I ask each family or person to take out one of each. At the top, under the banner it reads: “Thankful for God’s countless blessings, striving to be Christ in my world, I affirm my active participation – my discipleship – in the faith community of St. Austin’s Catholic Parish.”
If you are willing to affirm that, and I hope you are, please sign it. Sign it right now. Please fill in the other information in the light blue section at top; please print clearly, thanks. And if your information below that has changed, please fill it out. There is a special section for University Students, and possibility to update further info on the back. After the Creed and Prayers of the Faithful we will make this affirmation together.
When you are finished, please put the pen and in folders and return the folders to the pews for the next Mass. Thank You.
As we affirm our membership in St Austin’s Parish, we also affirm our relationship to one another as members of the Body of Christ. We are not alone.