"Our society is becoming increasingly relativistic. Everything it seems is perceived in shades of gray."
Several polls in recent years have consistently shown that more than 75% of Americans do not believe in absolute or objective truth. That is, they do not believe that anything can be known with absolute certainty.
There is a pastor who always begins his confirmation classes by showing his students a jar full of jellybeans. He then asks them to guess the number of beans in the jar and write it down on a piece of paper. Then he asks them to think of their favorite song and write it down next to the number.
The number of jellybeans in the jar is revealed and the student who correctly guessed the number is duly recognized as being “right.” The pastor then asks who had the “right” song.
The students protest that there is no right answer, it is up to individual preference.
So the pastor then asks, when it comes to choosing your faith, is it more like determining the number of jellybeans in a jar or choosing a favorite song? The students invariably say that choosing your faith is like choosing your favorite song, it is different for everybody.
Our society is becoming increasingly relativistic. Everything it seems is perceived in shades of gray. Take marriage for example. When it comes to defining marriage, is it more like counting jellybeans or choosing a favorite song?
In the Gospel reading today the question of marriage is settled. Jesus goes beyond Moses to God’s original intent at the beginning of all things. Marriage is not a man-made institution that can be changed, dissolved or redefined at man’s whim. It is part of our very existence, it is written into our nature.
This nature is inseparably both spiritual and physical. Physically husband and wife become one flesh. Spiritually they become one when a man leaves his mother and father and clings to his wife. In this way, marriage is a sacrament, traceable back to the order of creation. We cannot change it any more than we can change the course of the earth as it circles the sun.
And the wisdom of God’s intent may be seen in couples that take this to heart, they marry realizing that it is a lifelong commitment. To perceive true beauty, observe a couple that has grown old together. They become one flesh and one spirit to such a degree that they seem incomplete without each other. Those who work with the elderly point out that with such a couple, when one falls asleep in the arms of Christ, the other soon follows, so complete is their union.
Some would argue that man is just another animal. But this is not the case. Men and women are created differently from all other creatures. Discovering this difference and becoming “one flesh” is one way to fulfill of our deepest and most unique nature.
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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© Lawrence Klimecki
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Deacon Lawrence draws on ancient Christian tradition to create new contemporary art that seeks to connect the physical and the spiritual.. For more information on original art, prints and commissions, Please visit www.DeaconLawrence.org
Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith