St. John Paul II during the first five years of his pontificate spoke about the church’s teaching on love, sex, and marriage at his weekly audience at St. Peter’s Basilica in a new and refreshing way that our culture today can relate to. These talks have been collected and published as The Theology of the Body: Human Love in the Divine Plan (Pauline Books and Media, 1997). Pope John Paul II reflected on how our body reveals how human persons are created in the image of God, as male and female (cf. Gen 1:27). His teaching takes as his starting point an episode from the Gospel of Matthew (19:3-9) where Jesus points them back to the first words of Genesis “(from) the beginning” where we can find God’s original intention for humanity. In discovering that original plan, we can understand our own situation and who we are. Unfortunately our original parents Adam and Eve decided to disobey God and forever changed the nature of humans, which predispose us to sin and make us susceptible to the hardening of our heart. However, there is Good News, Christ has come and a new reality is in place, a power enabling us to experience what God intended for all of us, to rest in his peace and love. Later in his teachings the pope looks closely at another passage in Matthew (22:23-33) and serves as a second reference point for the theology of the body. Jesus speaks of the end, the resurrection to eternal life after he comes again in glory, as another key for understanding God’s plan for human love (Healy, page 10).
It is impossible to cover all the teachings included in the theology of the body in a short treatise, but I wanted to introduce it and invite you to look into it more using the books I have referenced. Another one to consider is by Christopher West, Theology of the Body for Beginners (Ascension Press, 2009). Perhaps you are interested in attending a bible study on this topic, if you are, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and specify if you prefer it during the day or Thursdays early evening.
Yours in Christ,
Josylin Fermin Mateus
Parish Faith Formation