Daily Reflection – 8/16/19
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator 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, no human being must separate.” They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” His disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” He answered, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.” (Matthew 19: 3-12)
The Pharisees heard Jesus’ teaching against divorce at the Sermon on the Mount, a teaching which contradicted the practice of the Jews. And so they sought to trap him in this instance into putting his teaching in opposition to Moses. But Jesus knew their twisted intentions and grounded his teaching on God’s original plan for man and woman. He knows that they were looking to get around the will of God and carve exceptions. His focus was on what God intended.
He boldly upholds the sanctity of marriage. Jesus, as the Son of God, cannot be mistaken in interpreting the law. He is the Son of God. He was there when the law was given to Moses. He was even there when the first couple was created.
The gift of Marriage is so important because here a couple is given the chance to encounter God in the most unique way where the family is built. However, presumed to have love in the first place, love between two individuals ought to be the reason for their coming together and deciding to enter into a lifetime partnership before God and man. As they swear to each other and promise to love each other for the rest of their lives with full consent, marriage is contracted and blessed.
Contrast that with the tendency in today’s world to view personal relationships as conditional. They are only important if it works. If a marriage is not working, the couple may decide to divorce rather than go to counseling. If a friendship is “on the rocks” we may decide to walk away from it. If an individual has hurt me, I may decide to end the relationship. It would be too difficult and painful to work through it with the individual. And would I ever be able to trust them again?
When difficulties arise, we may be tempted to walk away rather than to stay and try to work it out. Today Jesus calls us to take our personal relationships and commitments very seriously. True, deep and loving commitment is the most precious gift we can give to another person. Yes, we will mess up and of course there will be difficulties. However, a loving and long-lasting relationship (marriage, friendship, family, church community, etc.) may be the greatest gift we receive in our lifetime.
Take a moment and think about the people in your life who have loved you, forgiven you, held you, laughed with you and celebrated precious moments with you. Can you imagine your life without them? No doubt, there also have been very difficult times in your life with these people. However, you knew that these individuals loved you and that they would support you. Today give thanks for their presence in your life. Give thanks for the many gifts and the love they have given you. And perhaps take the time to personally thank them for the gift they continue to be to you!
Prayer of The Day
Jesus, give me the faith and confidence to believe with all my heart that your grace is enough for me. Teach me to believe that your commands are always supported by your grace and that I can live as a new man in you.
Jesus affirms that a loving and faithful marriage is a manifestation of the kingdom of God. This being said, it is God’s faithfulness in accompanying us as human beings which is the ground on which any of our human faithfulness may be built. Be it living out our commitment to God within a religious community, within a searching or dedicated single life, or with our beloved, we all draw upon the inexhaustible spring of God’s love and mercy. This living water gives us what we need to thrive, to hear the call to fidelity in our own circumstances, and to respond generously how we can.