When he was a young priest, Pope St. John Paul II wrote a play called The Jeweler’s Shop. It is a masterfully written piece about humanity’s ideas and expectations of love, relationships, and marriage. In Act I, Theresa and Andrew are at the Jeweler Shop, peering in the display window at the rings … pausing before going in, Andrew reflects on the meaning of the rings: pieces of precious metal that hold the potential of being a symbol of their love, their union, and the future that lies ahead of them. In Act II, Anna goes to the Jeweler shop to sell her ring. She feels trapped in a marriage where she believes love no longer exists. But when the Jeweler weighs her ring, it doesn’t tip the scale. The scale doesn’t weigh its monetary value rather man’s being and fate … its weight, its value, is in love …
The readings all direct us toward an understanding of the nature and purpose of our humanity – we were created for relationship, for love. That is our weight, our value… This is particularly spelled out in the book of Genesis … You see both man and woman reveal something of the nature of God to one another. Notice how Adam provides names for all the animals… in doing so he manifests the dominion, authority, strength … not in such a way that abusive but rather that serves creation … however he finds none that is “suitable” for him. Taken from his rib – his heart – what does Eve then reveal to Adam but the inner heart of God, His love, compassion … they are similar but different … Thus, at the very dawn of humanity we see how man and woman are meant to reveal something of the nature of God to one another, how they serve one another, how they find purpose in one another … and this is reflected in the Sacrament of Marriage – when the 2 become one flesh – there is a complementarity of the sexes and that in this love, the inner life and love of the Trinity is made known. Man and woman were made for one another – created for relationship, created for love, for the purpose of giving life – This is God… God is Love and through Love He gives life to His children!
Friends, we must not get caught up in the philosophies of our time that would like us to believe that love is what we make of it … Love is a gift and has been cast in a particular order, a particular mode of being … It is not about what I can get, its not about how useful a person is to me – love is not based on the level of a person’s functionality … our relationships, human sexuality, marriage isn’t something we make up, it isn’t something we define for ourselves – this isn’t how God operates – it’s an indescribable gift and a divine reality.
Yet we live in a broken world, a world of human suffering in which there is a constant search, a battle to discover one’s worth, one’s value … no wonder there is so much confusion in the realm of human relationships, gender identity and marriage – we have lost a sense of our own worth, our value … of that dignity that is given at the moment of conception … This is what makes Sacrament Marriage a such a sacred and rich witness in our world today … it is a witness of the very love of God … in which we are meant to see and to know how God sees us… its not just the rings but the spouses become a symbol of love that cast in a particular order, a mode of being that finds is worth in God.
This is not easy, yes, it is the ideal and we remain broken, and some marriages don’t make it – yet God is constant and we ought to be as well – Friends we need good and holy marriages and families … we expect our priests to be good and holy – and priests expect their people to be good and holy, standing firm in His Truth, in His love… in such a way that helps us and others see for ourselves the weight of our value.