27th Sunday in Ordinary Time B
I think most of us are aware that there are two stories of creation in the book of Genesis. They do not contradict each other as much as they complement one another. That makes sense. After all, God is too big and the story of creation is too important to be portrayed from one perspective. In the first story of creation, God is powerful and majestic and indeed God is. God says, “Let there be light,” there is light and it is good and that is that. In the second story of we have a portrait of God as intimate and caring, literally getting his hands dirty making Adam out of mud and developing a relationship with him. Both stories are revelatory of a God who is both powerful and intimate. As to which story you prefer, it is a kind of a personality test. If you like order and efficiency, you might be drawn to the first story. If you like chaos and dialogue, the second story fits. You might not be surprised that I am a second story kind of guy.
Look how concerned God is for the man God has made. Man was created out of love and God recognizes that to be complete, the man must have something to love. So God creates everything else to find “a suitable partner” like Edison searching for the right filament. (GE reference!) It is a glorious failure for although the man rejects each living creature as a partner, the world is now populated by all beautiful things. Then with artistic insight, God realizes the man does not need something wholly other, just a little different. So God begins with the man’s rib, for how much similar can you get. And it solves everything. The man exclaims, “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” This is not just the story of man and woman, it is the story of all of us. We need each other. As Johnny Camarari says in Moonstruck, “God took the rib of a woman and now there is a space that needs to be filled.”
Catholic social teaching has a great word for this – solidarity. We are connected, meant for each other. We are made of the same stuff, the same Spirit, from the same creator. It is why we believe that we can find Christ in anyone because we know we share God as our origin. We sense this in the way we are drawn to our families and then we see it extend to our relatives, friends and communities. Hopefully, we see the bond as so strong that it encompasses everyone, especially the poor, the broken, the struggling in such a way that when anyone is hungry, we feel the pangs; when anyone is a victim, we know their pain; when anyone suffers violence, we carry the scars; when anyone experiences war, we share the horror. I have been around people who are hurting and even dying this week and have thought that the great promise of creation is not that everything works our perfectly. It is that we are there for one another.
So it is troubling when the first promise of creation, this original bond seems so threatened. Yet it is hard to deny that we seem to be dissembling into further and further factionalism. People seem to be seeking out those who belong to their own tribe and limiting their dialogue and understanding to those they agree with. We are having a harder time bridging gaps of understanding and civility. We need a return to a sense of solidarity – to a sense of needing every one.
I know I need you. You are my missing rib. I do not feel complete without you. Let us build on this sense of family because if we cannot have it here, where else will it appear? Let it matter that we share the same parish and profess the same beliefs. Make sure we say hi in the grocery store and wave to each other in the hallway just because we belong here. Let us build a sense of inclusion so strong to ensure this a place where people know they will be trusted, cared for and believed. And pray that the feeling radiates outward until we all grow in recognition of our need for each other again, until we mirror the God who formed each of us by divine hands and made us for each other, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.