God is Good!

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Genesis 2:18 - 24

The LORD God said: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him." So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man. So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called 'woman, ' for out of 'her man’ this one has been taken." That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh.

Hebrews 2:9 - 11

Brothers and sisters: He "for a little while" was made "lower than the angels, " that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”

Mark 10:2 - 16

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, "What did Moses command you?" They replied, "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." But Jesus told them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But 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. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate." In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

When we think of the greatest inventions of the world, some may say insulin, electricity, the combustion engine, wind turbines, solar panels, computers, fibre optics; perhaps sliced bread or the zipper. What about creation itself? Human ingenuity is, indeed, only a pale reflection of our Creator’s imagination and vision! This week’s readings reveal the unfathomable depth of God’s love for all creation and remind us of the intimate relationship between creation and Creator, genuine relationships among humanity, and the mysterious relationship between Christ and the Church. “Creation is the foundation of ‘all God’s saving plans,’ the ‘beginning of the history of salvation’ that culminates in Christ. Conversely, the mystery of Christ casts conclusive light on the mystery of creation and reveals the end for which ‘in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’: from the beginning, God envisaged the glory of the new creation in Christ” (CCC 280).

Like many, I love nature and enjoy spending time outdoors; trekking through the beauty of each season. Each blade of grass and cluster of wild flowers; each tree and shrub; birds, bees, and butterflies; everything that walks, crawls, or slithers on land; everything that swims in the waters; all sings of God’s glory in each of their unique ways. Everything works according to the Creator’s design and each supports and sustains each other without interruption. Indeed, God is good! It is God’s will to reveal Himself to us through creation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will” (CCC 51). God, who lovingly creates this beautiful world, not only invites us to enjoy it but also bear witness “to his almighty love and his wisdom, the first proclamation of the ‘plan of his loving goodness’, which finds its goal in the new creation in Christ” (CCC 315). Genesis’ creation story reveals that God also wants “man” to participate in the creative process. God asks “man” to name “all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all wild animals”, “whatever the man called each of them would be its name” (Gn 2:19-20). By partaking in the creative process “man” (humanity) is also called to be steward of God’s creation. However, “the man” cannot possibly accomplish such a feat alone. God recognizes that “man” needs a “suitable partner”, “woman” who is “bone of [his] bones and flesh of [his] flesh” (Gn 2:20-21). The creation story, therefore, underscores our vocation to care for creation and each other. God said, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Gn 1:28). “Dominion”, though literally means power and authority; however, it is also a reminder of our responsibilities to care for creation and each other, like a patient gardener tending to and nurturing all that is in their charge.

Though creation is created to be harmonious and good, discord happens when we are not in good relationship with God, each other, or creation. The Pharisees’ challenge to Jesus regarding the question of divorce, portrayed in the Gospel of Mark, reveals the hardness of the human heart; a heart that is obstinate and proud. While Moses’ law has made a provision for divorce, Jesus argues that this is only written “because of the hardness of your hearts” (Mk 10:5). So, referring to Genesis, Jesus affirms that “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (ref. Gn 2:24, Mk 10:9). More importantly, the marital relationship between spouses points us to the intimate relationship between Christ and the Church. Jesus is the spouse and head of the Church. Just as husband and wife love, care for, respect, and even sacrifice for each other, Christ willingly offers himself, once and for all, to “reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross” (Col 1:20). Jesus, “for a little while” was made ‘lower than the angels’ that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Heb 2:9). Further, St. Paul explains, “For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church” (Eph 5:29-32).

God of wisdom and all that is good, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me” (Ps 51:10). When our eyes are blinded by greed and arrogance, and our heart clogged with pride, shine your light upon us and show us your mercy and unconditional love. Heal our broken relationships – with you, each other, and the earth. Refresh our spirit so that we may glorify you in all we do and in unison with all of your creation. Send forth your Spirit to guide us onto the right path towards healing and reconciliation. Amen.

Posted: October 3, 2021

Susanna Mak

Susanna深信,信仰需要在日常生活中顯露出來,尤其是當與別人相處時,需要分擔對方所面對的困境、抉擇和挑戰。她有着很多不同的身份:女兒、姐姐、朋友、姨姨、妻子、老師、校牧、終身學習者和偶爾替《生命恩泉》寫作的作者。在每一個身份當中, 她努力為天主的愛和希望作見証。 她在多倫多擔任高中教師近二十年,擁有英語、學生讀寫能力、青年領袖活動、校牧組等經驗。 她是多倫多大學商業和英語學士,教育學士,亞省Athabasca大學綜合研究碩士,以及擁有多倫多大學Regis學院神學研究碩士證書。她對於成為《生命恩泉》寫作團隊的一份子, 深感榮幸。 Susanna has a deep conviction that faith needs to be manifested in daily life, particularly, in one’s encounters with others as well as amidst dilemmas, choices, and challenges. She strives to be a living sign of God’s love and hope as a daughter, sister, friend, aunt, wife, teacher, chaplain, life-long learner, and occasional writer for FLL. She has been a high school teacher in Toronto for almost 20 years, with experiences in English and literacy, youth leadership initiatives, the Chaplaincy Team, to mention a few. She has a B. Comm, B.A. in English, and a B. Education from University of Toronto, an M.A. in Integrated Studies from Athabasca University, and a Graduate Certificate of Theological Studies from Regis College, U of T. She is humbled by the opportunity to be part of the FLL Writing Team.

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