A Divorce that’s Easily Annulled

Human couplings have a long history of decoupling, dating back to the first—Adam and Eve. Their divorce was from their creator and it set off a long chain of discord that continuously amped-up the consequences of that separation among human beings. This Sunday’s first reading from Genesis (Gn 2:18-24) indicates that human beings were created for a greater purpose than just being. They started out as a vital link in God’s enterprise—an integrated link.

“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.”

Man and woman were conceived in the spirit of innocence to be part of a divinely powerful whole. When evil invaded that paradise, Adam and Eve began seeing themselves as individuals in all their nakedness, vulnerability and selfish desires. The integrity of their designed-in free will was sullied by original sin. But as our second reading from Hebrews (Heb 2:9-11) states, the Creator would salvage his original intent by introducing a throwback to that spirit of innocence and drawing us back into it.

“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.”

Just as Adam & Eve’s sin divorced them from union with their creator, our creator reembodied that original spirit of innocence in a more perfect vessel: Jesus Christ. In our gospel reading from Mark (Mk 10:2-16), the new Adam acknowledges that the kind of spiritual and mental divorce that made the old Adam lose his innocence is still a problem among couples.

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her,” Jesus tells the Pharisees, “and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” But after issuing this verdict, Jesus also tells us where we must look to learn about reconnecting with humanity’s original spirit of innocence:

“As Jesus explained this, 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.’”

Our creator left the Kingdom door, through which humanity was ejected, open wide enough for our return as the prodigal sons and daughters we are. Are our hearts open wide enough to receive His invitation to a reunion?

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