Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Jeremiah 13:1-11; Matthew 13:31-35)
Walking through a shopping mall, both men and women are allured by the lingerie shop. The window display arouses such interest that all wonder what can be inside. Of course, the apparel is meant to increase the intensity of desire of a husband for his wife. In the first reading today the prophet Israel uses such an image to describe the relationship between God and Israel.
The loin cloth described in the passage was to be worn by men to cover their genitals. In public the loincloth was worn under a tunic, but whether in private or in public it signifies intimacy. The prophet himself states this meaning: “As close as the loincloth clings to a man’s loins, so had I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord.” The tragedy that Israel abandons God for the fetishes of their neighbors is symbolized by the loincloth being buried and rotting.
God has created humans as sexual beings so that they might relate to one another. Genital sexuality is reserved for a man and a woman to solidify their union as an environment for raising children and thus fulfilling God’s plan for creation. Quite unfortunately, humans often distort this blueprint by making pleasure the purpose of sexual fulfillment. Like Jeremiah‘s rotting loincloth, such practice cannot last long. We look to Jesus, who reinforces the original teaching on sexuality in Genesis, as our advisor in these affairs.