Today’s first reading and gospel are a large part of the foundation for St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. He uses the parallel passage in Matthew (Mt 19:3-12), which refers to Genesis 1:27 as well as to today’s 2:24. He also uses Matthew 22:30 to develop the theme of celibacy for the kingdom. But much of what he says is based on what we find in today’s readings — Genesis 2:18-24 and Mark 10:2-16.
We are created in the image of God in our masculinity and femininity, not just in the spiritual part of our nature. In our bodily actions we can provide a physical image of what God is as pure spirit. Man and woman are for each other and complete each other. Our sexual complementarity is part of being in God’s image. God is a communion of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The divine communion is permanent, committed, loving, and life-giving. In our bodily nature, we are called to similar communion. In our sexuality, the highest form of this communion of persons is marriage, in which man and woman become one flesh in an indissoluble, life-transmitting, loving communion. Marriage is indissoluble because the Trinity is indissoluble.
This all ties in so well with the Synod of Bishops on marriage and the family which opens today in Rome that I’m sure that the date for the Synod was chosen with these passages in mind, if not by the Pope or other people involved in organizing it then by the Holy Spirit guiding them.
Psalm 128 leads us to reflect on marriage and children as a great blessing from God.
The second reading — Hebrews 2:9-11 — reminds the hearers of Jesus’ taking on humanity. This he did so that he would be able to save humanity through his suffering (and resurrection).
It is an interesting coincidence(?) that this reading, with its mention of Jesus’ becoming “lower than the angels” occurs just after the Church has celebrated the feasts of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael on September 29, and the Guardian Angels on October 2. It is good to remember that God gives angels roles of service to us.