St. Mary of Magdala Catholic Community
October 4, 2015
Today’s readings are a good example of how people can turn someone else’s statements around to say what they want them to say, or think they should say. When we were kids the boys used to use the Genesis second creation story to show us girls that we were made from just Adam’s rib so we weren’t really human or at least not as human as they were.
We couldn’t answer them back because we didn’t know, and most religion teachers didn’t know, that that was not the real message. Scripture scholars teach us that “the woman may have been taken from the man, but he played no part in her creation, and didn’t even witness it.” Were we taught that the man was inferior to the ground from which he was formed? I don’t think so!
The writer of the story may have heard of the ancient creation story of the goddess Ninti, whose title in Sumerian, “woman of life,” has the same root as “woman of the rib.” The pun lost its significance when it was translated into Hebrew. The poetic construction shows that the author was not attempting an accurate account of the creation of the first couple but sought to focus on their relationship. We see this theme throughout the scriptures – the critical importance of relationships.
Continuing with that theme let’s look at Jesus’ teaching about marriage according to Mark. I hope Pope Francis and the other bishops and priests who will be speaking about marriage and the family, will reflect on this part of Mark’s gospel. Mark is saying that Jesus teaches that husband and wife have equal responsibility. He envisions a situation where a woman has a right to a divorce, something not in the Jewish law. This doesn’t make the demands of marriage any easier, but it does put husband and wife on equal footing. I believe the teaching is the same for gay and lesbian couples.
What about raising children? In Jesus’ day in Roman society children were not valued. Because they were not productive, they were ignored, abused, abandoned or sold. Jesus taught that children are important in God’s realm and an example to others. Do we bring a positive, encouraging, building up attitude to dealing with children? Do we carefully protect them from others who don’t treat them with love, no matter who those people are? Some of us still need to take away our blind spots about priests, seminarians and religious brother and sisters in this regard.
How are we being faithful to the gospel, to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council? What does it mean to us, St. Mary of Magdala Community? How can we build up a sense of ownership in our community? What are we called to be and do in this climate in the Church? Who are we anyhow? How do we bring hope to the vulnerable in our families and community?
Here’s one way to look at it. We bring hope through the relationships we build with each other. We bring hope by getting to know each other better so we can learn what each other is doing to bring hope to others in our community: from volunteering for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, to working at soup kitchens, to supporting those hospitality workers at our hotels and conference centers so they begin to get a living wage.
At the same time, we can learn each other’s spiritual and personal needs so we can more effectively fill those needs. Our Leadership Circle is meeting this week. We’ll be “firing up our engines” to see what to do first to bring power to the rest of you. To “fill up our tanks” for our next liturgy on October 18, please bring us some information about what you do to build up a person or people in our community. We can share that info and see what that means for our own outreach and for who we are as a Christian community.
Now let’s focus on the Eucharist, that presence of Christ with us, empowering us to be equal partners in lifting up each other and those who are weak and vulnerable.
Rev. Maria Thornton McClain, RCWP
October 4, 2015
The translations of the readings for this Sunday shed a great deal of light on their meaning for us. The second reading was from Hebrews. We used the translation/interpretation from The Message. The first reading from Genesis 2 and the Gospel according to Mark will be sent to you separately. The second reading follows;
A reading from the letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 2:5, 8-13)
God didn’t put angels in charge of this business of salvation that we’re dealing with here.
When God put women and men in charge of everything, nothing was excluded. But we don’t see it yet, don’t see everything under human jurisdiction. What we do see is Jesus, made “not quite as high as angels,” and then, through the experience of death, crowned so much higher than any angel, with a glory “bright with Eden’s dawn light.” In that death, by God’s grace, he fully experienced death in every person’s place.
It makes good sense that the God who got everything started and keeps everything going now completes the work by making Jesus, who is the Salvation Pioneer, perfect through suffering as he leads all these people to glory. Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them as family, saying to God,
“I’ll tell my good friends, my brothers and sisters, all I know about you;
I’ll join them in worship and praise to you.”
Again, he puts himself in the same family circle when he says,
“Even I live by placing my trust in God.”