In the beginning of today's gospel reading, taken from Mark 10: 2-16, Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees about divorce. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” In part of his his response, he quotes from Genesis 2:24, "
This image of marriage is a symbol of Christ and the Church. Jacob Serugh, a Syriac poet-theologian who died in 521 AD comments on this image in a vivid homily:
Wives are not united to their husbands as closely as the Church is to the Son of God. What husband but our Lord ever died for his wife, and what bride ever chose a crucified man as her husband? Who ever gave his blood as a gift to his wife except the One who died on the cross and sealed the marriage bond with his wounds? Who was ever seen lying dead at his own wedding banquet with his wife at his side seeking to console herself by embracing him? At what other celebration, at what other feast is the bridegroom’s body distributed to the guests in the form of bread?
Death separates wives from their husbands, but in this case it is death that unites the bride to her beloved. He died on the cross, bequeathed his body to his glorious spouse, and now every day she receives and consumes it at his table. She consumes it under the form of bread, and under the form of the wine that she drinks, so that the whole world may know that they are no longer two but one.May Christ the Bridegroom, who gave his life so that we might have life, unite us ever more closely to himself!
|Icon of Christ, the Bridegroom and Mary, the Bride Church, from Sacro Speco|