Ordinary 27th Sunday
Ordinary 27th Sunday
Gen. 2: 18-24 Heb. 2: 9-11 Mk. 10: 2-16
TO COMPLETE, NOT TO COMPETE
In order to build up deeper relationship with others, we need to go deeper into ourselves.
All religious traditions have got myths (Myths are stories that may not have much of historical significance as such, but do have a lot of spiritual significance), explaining the origin of the cosmos and of the humans. For example, in Hinduism, it is said that the Brahman, the Ultimate Reality, divided itself into two: one-fourth and three-fourth. The three-fourth became the cosmos. The one-fourth further divided itself into two. One became man and the other woman.
In Chinese Taoism, the symbolism of yin and yang is a widely known one. Yin is perceived as the feminine principle, while yang as the masculine principle. Yin is the receptive and the yang is the active principle. It is the interplay of these two forces that is responsible for the creation of the cosmos. Christianity, as an offshoot of Jewism, shares its creation myth with Jewism and this is found in the first two chapters of the Bible. The first reading is from this section.
When we look at these myths, especially the creation of men and women, we understand that both are different from each other, sometimes even to the extent of considering that they are opposite. However, when we go a little deeper into these myths, we realize that they teach us that these two seemingly opposites are indeed complementary, interconnected and interdependent. We understand that there is a deep inter-connected with each other. Each ‘completes’ the other.
In the first reading, we see Adam saying about the Eve, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” It implies a deeper and closer interpersonal bond that existed between Adam and Eve. It is said that the couples should be like a scissor. Though the two pieces of a scissor freely move in the opposite direction, still they move in such a way that they do not cut each other. However they cut what comes in between. Similarly, the husband and wife, though may have different and even conflicting opinions, should conduct themselves in such a way that they do not hurt each other.
Not only between men and women, but also between the human and the cosmos, there is a close inter-relatedness. That God brought the whole animal kingdom to Adam to name them is a symbolic representation that there was a close inter-relatedness between the human and animals, and it is human beings’ responsibility to take care of animals and nature.
In Hinduism, advaita is a popular philosophical system. In fact, it is not a mere philosophical system, but a system that stems from religious experience. Advaita means ‘not two.’ It implies that when one plunges into one’s deeper self, one realizes that one is not much seperate from God, others and even cosmos. Dualism exists only at the periphery, whereas deep down there is no dualism. All are connected in/with the same universal Force, namely God.
However, in order to experientially realize this deep inter-relatedness, it is important that we leave behind all that is periphery and enter into our true self. It is living in periphery that is responsible for rugged individualism, selfish egoism, divisive casteism and insensitive self-boast. A man and a woman were arguing which sex is superior. The man said, “God created Adam first. So man is superior.” The woman argued back, “It is always usual to have a practice before going for the masterpiece. Woman is a masterpiece.” Well! Both arguments are wrong. Neither men nor women are superior or inferior to each other. They are unique in their own way. Many of us forget the fact that we are not here to compete with each others, but to complete each other. When it is said that Eve was created from the rib, taken out of Adam, it implies that she is very much part of him. Moreover she is neither inferior nor superior to him. This is explicit from the point that she was created out of rib, which is in the centre part of a man’s body.
One of the reasons why we find it difficult to be relational is that we are very shallow in our maturity and have not travelled into our deeper self, which is deeply relational. Ramana Maharishi, a great sage of the last century. has this beautiful example to explain how the differences are only external and deep down we are all one and the same! It is like the ocean and the bubble. Bubbles are many, but the ocean is one. Bubbles are not only many, but also temporary. The same thing is true with regard to individual selves.’
The problem here is that it is not very easy to be in touch with our deeper self. For that, a person has to go through a process of self-purification. It is only through a process of self-purification, one can leave behind all sorts of externals and get in touch with one’s true self. This process of self-purification is in no way an easy one. The author of the book of Hebrews, in the second reading, says that Jesus was made perfect through suffering.
One interesting thing that we learn from the history of the Church is that it was during the period of crisis and suffering, more saintly figures have emerged in the Church. In other words, not only the individuals, but also the Church is made perfect through suffering.