Sunday Gospel reflections: Keep the ideal of God’s plan in mind

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

"The Garden of Eden" by Thomas Cole (1801–1848). Photo: The Athenaeum/Public Domain

Jesus regularly spoke of the ideals to which God calls us, rather than the accommodations we often make. His teaching on divorce is an example of that. In keeping with his usual approach, he challenged the Pharisees to aim for God’s original plan for marriage, even though the law allowed for divorce.

God’s plan for male-female relationships is illustrated by the First Reading. Life in the garden was incomplete because the first human did not have a partner. Humans are meant to be in relationships with others, not alone and isolated. So God made the animals, but none was an appropriate “partner” because the Hebrew word actually means “one like himself.” So God took part of that first human and made it into a suitable partner. This story illustrates God’s plan for marriage, that a man and a woman find a part of themselves in the other and therefore devote themselves exclusively to the other.

Unfortunately, humans did not remain in the ideal creation that was the Garden of Eden. Because of sin, they had to leave the garden and were forced to live a much harsher existence. In the world we live in today, relationships sometimes break down. When that happens, we need to attend to the pastoral needs of those involved while keeping in view the ideal of God’s original plan that Jesus evokes in today’s Gospel.

— John McLaughlin


Genesis 2:18–24

Psalm 128:1–2, 3, 4–5, 6

Hebrews 2:9–11

Mark 10:2–16 or 10:2–12

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