Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘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.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” He said to them, “It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.” His disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”
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.
In her book The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris quotes a monk who lived in a small monastery in Colorado: “Our biggest problem is that each man here had a mother who fried potatoes in a different way.” I have never been a monk, but I am married, and the quote rings true to me as a husband. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel, a married couple becomes one flesh, which happens in a myriad of ways. We bring all our experiences to a marriage and quickly realize the ways we grew up doing things like decorating the Christmas tree, watching TV every night or rarely watching it, or cooking potatoes can be sources of tension and conflict.
“One-flesh” marriage means choosing the good of the other over my own biases and my commitment to being right all the time. It means big and small sacrifices, over and over, every single day.
Almighty and eternal God,
You blessed the union of married couples
so that they might reflect the union of Christ with his Church:
look with kindness on them.
Renew their marriage covenant,
increase your love in them,
and strengthen their bond of peace so that, with their children,
they may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
—Prayer for Married Couples © United States Conference of Catholic BishopsPlease share the Good Word with your friends!