On Wednesday I got a call from a Jewish writer from LA. He was editing a book about scripture verses from the first five books of the Bible that people from the Jewish and Christian tradition have found moving, This is my contribution to his book.
I was asked to give a small reflection on a verse from one of the five books of the bible that is meaningful to me. The verse that I chose might be surprising but it is Genesis 2:25, “And the man and the woman were both naked and were not ashamed.”
You might ask Why is a Catholic priest who is celibate and not married picking this verse? It has to do with my love of John Paul II’s Theology Of The Body. John Paul II looks at this scripture from the viewpoint of what it must have been like for us before sin. How did we experience our bodies before sin?
We live in an age that sees the spirit as good and the body as less good and in some case even bad. I don’t think we deliberately think this way but it comes out in much of our thinking. Much of New Age Philosophy focuses on liberating our spirits from our bodies, as if our bodies were a prison that entrapped our spirit. Remember the song from the Police, “We are spirits in the material world.” This song reflects this thinking.
This verse from Genesis is God unconditional Yes to the Goodness of Our Bodies. This verse reflects what God said when He created men and women, that when He looked down upon them He saw that they were very good. Everything else was good but man and woman were very good. Anyone who has a body issue, and that would include just about everyone today, ought to reflect on this verse: that we are Very Good, not just Good but Very Good. I look at this verse as radiation for the healing of our bodies. No matter how young or old we are, how we line up with cultural norms about beauty, we can all say God made me Very Good.
Much of our culture while claiming to be Pro-Body actually is sending the opposite message. The world of fashion and advertising tells us that we are not good looking enough, thin enough, that we need this product so that we can make ourselves presentable to the world.
This verse from the book of Genesis is God telling us to stop running around and remember that you are very good, that when we know that God loves us we can see the Image of God shining forth from our Bodies.