Sunday, October 04, 2015

One Flesh

It's a complicated Sunday. World Communion Sunday. Respect Life Sunday. Opening of the Synod on the Family in Rome. Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. On my more local calendar, we are anointing the sick at my parish this week, I gave a talk at the a nearby Episcopal Church on science and religion, and went to a friend's husband's funeral. In the greater world, there are floods and shootings and mudslides and "collateral damage" at hospitals.

It has me thinking about what it means to share in the sufferings of the Body of Christ, of the world.

And in this reflection, written many months ago for Give Us This Day, I wonder if we are missing something about the sacramental sign that is matrimony.

Do we weep for each other, as we would weep for a beloved spouse?
"'Are you trying to tell me that my husband is dead?' I asked the surgeon. 'Yes.' In that harrowing moment of my first marriage’s dissolution, I finally grasped in my bones the reality of these words: They are no longer two but one flesh. Half of me had been torn off, and what remained was pouring out onto the floor in a pool of tears.

It is tempting to hear these readings from Genesis and Mark as mere marriage instruction, demanding husbands and wives to cleave to each other no matter the cost. I see in them instead potent images of what it feels like to be one body, not just in marriage but as the People of God: you are bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. We proclaim in the Communion antiphon that we are one body. But do we feel in our bones that we are one flesh, mingled with Christ in our communion, as the water and wine mingle in the cup we share? One. Inseparable.

These readings point us to realities beyond marriage, challenging us to deepen our fidelity to one another and to Christ as members of his One Body. This indeed is a hard teaching for all of us, not just those struggling with marriage. Are we torn open by the sufferings of our brothers and sisters? Do we weep for each other as we would weep for a beloved spouse? We are no longer two, but one flesh."

1 comment:

  1. Helen8:18 AM

    Good morning, Dr. Franci,
    I enjoyed your talk yesterday, very much. I plan on spending my morning putting off a work deadline and reading posts from your blog. The only way my boss might know I'm doing this is that I've already read an entry on the question of microwaving duct tape and I might conduct a small experiment here in the office.
    I still wish I had you for chemisty...