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 today’s first reading the prophet Jeremiah 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 intimacy with the Lord for flings with its neighbors’ idols is symbolized by the loincloth being buried and rotting.
God has created humans as sexual beings so that we might relate to one another. Genital sexuality is reserved for a husband and wife to solidify their union. That union further becomes the source and environment for children. Thus, it fulfils God’s plan for creation. Unfortunately, humans often distort this blueprint by making pleasure the sole purpose of sexual intimacy. Like Jeremiah‘s rotting loincloth, such a practice cannot last long. We can look to Jesus, who reinforces the original teaching on sexuality in Genesis, as our advisor in these affairs.