Year B: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Genesis 2: 18-24
The First Reading is an extract from the second Creation account in Genesis: the myth of the first human beings. There is a tendency to balk at the use of the word “myth” as if, somehow, we are downplaying the story - making it just make-believe. However, the opposite is true. A myth has the capacity to touch people deep within their psyche and to address things in ways which argument and pure logic can fail to do.
The God of Genesis 1 is a mighty and transcendent God: the God of Genesis 2 is Yahweh, God who walks with his people. Both are necessary to help people to glimpse something of the transcendent and immanence of God.
In Genesis 1, men and women are created at the same time: the pinnacle of God’s Creation. In Genesis 2, God creates the man and then decides that he needs a helpmate and fashions various creature who will be of value to the man in his life in the Garden (and, later, on earth): horses - cattle - birds - and so on. Yet, of all the wondrous creatures that Yahweh offers to the man to give name to none is suitable. They are of service to the man and give him pleasure - but they can never be his equal.
And so, God fashions a new creature from the very flesh of the man: as the saying goes - not from his foot so that man should dominate it - not from his head that it should dominate him - but from a rib, close to his heart that it should stand alongside him as his equal before God.
The creature, of course, is woman and the myth takes us deep into the mystery that two separate human beings can come together and, in their sexual love, from two cells create another individual human life. The science of this was not known to the writer of Genesis - but the sacredness of it was. Both parents are needed to create life - the institution of marriage is there to help them to sustain each other in love - and to nurture and cherish the offspring of that love.
What does it mean for me?
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