He left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.
Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The Pharisees in this Gospel reading were disingenuous. They did not know the answer to the question they were posing to Jesus. They fought among themselves about it. Much like many of the questions that we argue about in our culture, there are no easy answers. Rather than admitting that our perspective may be influenced by our own “hardness of heart,” we too easily condemn another to boost our own ego. Here, Jesus refuses to be drawn into their debate. Instead, he returns to the primordial vision of marriage: inseparable oneness.
Rather than focus on the messiness of everyday life, Jesus wants us to ponder a kind of love that never rejects the beloved. No matter what pains your life has experienced, never sour on the real heart of everything: love.
—Mark McNeil is the assistant principal for formation at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston, Texas.
Loving God, show me the path to genuine love today. Show me the way away from self-serving arguments. Hide me in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, your Son, in whose name I pray. Amen.
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