FR MICHAEL BIBLICAL IMAGERY
(Fr Michael Boakye Yeboah: Vice Rector of St Gregory Seminary, Kumasi-Ghana)
Marriage, I think, is one of the greatest gifts from God to humankind. God works in mysterious ways but I don’t know how God would have continued his work of procreation without the sacred union of man and woman. God really made a good decision when he found out that man did not have a pair among all the things he had created. The inspired writer puts it in this way: “The Lord God said: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him…’” When God finally gave man his pair, hear how the inspired writer describe the joy of man: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…” This statement has become the inner feelings of thousands if not millions of men who finally get the women of their ribs.
We should note that based on the creation account, unlike sub-human beings, man and woman are one flesh from their very origin. Discovering each other and “becoming one flesh” thus correspond to their deepest and most unique nature. Remember God gave man the authority to rule over the animals, but in the woman, he recognizes himself: “At last, flesh of my flesh.” Men should see women as the “co-equals” and not think of them as their subordinates. Therefore, it is said explicitly, a man clings to his wife and they become what they already are: one flesh. The fruitfulness of this union is mentioned in the first creation account (cf. Genesis 1:27-28) and, as Jesus underscores, is part of the reason why this union cannot be broken.
Please, no matter the challenges that comes with married life, once it is sacramentalized there should not be a room for divorce, for what God has joined let no one separate. The Gospel settles the question of marriage as Jesus bypasses Moses to appeal to God’s original order of creation. Unlike positive law, which, having been passed, can be changed, the creation-order is written into the nature of man. This nature is both physical and spiritual, inseparably so. Physically wife and husband become “one flesh”, and, because the man “leaves father and mother in order to cling to his wife”, and because their union produces children who must be brought up, they also become “one spirit”. This union traceable to God’s doing is thus final and cannot be broken by men. That the Gospel reading includes the story of the blessing of the children can be related to what we have just considered. Here children are explicitly a model for anyone who accepts the Kingdom of God, including married people. If they maintain a childlike attitude toward God, they cannot approach their spouse out of an attitude of superior adulthood. When both of them remain childlike before God, the mutual understanding and goodwill that can overcome the avoidable tensions of married life become possible.
Please my dear friends who are in married life, do all you can to maintain your marriages. I am keeping you in my prayers.
Personally, I can tolerate divorce when the life of one of the parties in the married life is in danger or if one of the parties have become to danger to their children. However, Christians all over the world should stand up against the destruction of the sacredness of married life. I congratulate all married couples who continue to stay together in the midst of all their challenges. God bless you.
Fr. Norm comments:
Many of you have questions about marriage and marriage within the Church. Many of you have questions about divorce, annulments, and about remarriage. If you have questions, present them to me for clarification. God bless you.