Fr. John Denburger, OCSO
7th Friday in Ordinary Time
James 5: 9 – 12; Ps 103; Mark 10: 1 – 12
It was not the first or last time that the Pharisees came to test Jesus nor the first or last time that His disciples would find His teaching disturbing. Jesus, who is Truth Incarnate, gave a very strong, unconditional lesson on marriage: “So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” In a true marriage it is God who has, in reality, brought a man and woman together; it is never a matter of human attraction alone.
Not too long after Jesus’ ascension, a most zealous Jew, on his way to Damascus to hunt out and persecute the people of The Way, found that his persecution was not merely of individual believers but of Jesus Himself. “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” He asked, “Who are You, Sir?” The voice answered, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!”
This momentous experience transformed Saul’s life and he became an ardent believer. This never-to-be forgotten grace colored his preaching, his letters for Paul preached, wrote eloquently of being “of Christ, in Christ, through Christ.” He emphasized again and again that the believers are the very Body of Christ Himself.
In Ephesians, Paul repeats Jesus’ words: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cling to his wife, and the two shall be made into one” and clearly inspired by the Spirit of Jesus, he draws a most profound conclusion, a truth of our faith.
He proclaims: “This is a great foreshadowing; I mean that it refers to Christ and the church.” The relationship of husband and wife, the intimacy of their union, goes well beyond their marriage. In all their humanness, by the grace of God, they are much more than they appear to be. Their life together speaks of Christ and His Body, the Church.
It speaks of us. We are members of the Body of Christ and in our humanness, we are more than we appear to be. God, in His infinite kindness, an attribute of God mentioned three times in the Responsorial Psalm, 103, has called us to be His intimates, His friends, and can we not say, too, His lovers.
This life we live in the Body of Christ is not of our own making; it is not ours to live as we want. We are of Christ, in Christ; we are His. It can never be reduced to theory, empty theology, merely pious thought. Jesus said, “Live on in me.” How seriously, how profoundly do I, do you take and live His will?