Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom, he again taught them. The Pharisees approached him and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him. He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?” They replied, “Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.” But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. 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, no human being must separate.” In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. 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. (Mark 10:1-12)
Today’s scripture points us to an ideal. An ideal of the perfect Christian. Marriage is often used to describe and understand that ideal.
So, let’s talk about that.
Jesus explains that Moses permitted divorce as a concession in view of a lost ideal. Jesus sets the high ideal of the married state before those who are willing to accept his commands. Jesus, likewise sets the high ideal for those who freely renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:11-12).
Both marriage and celibacy are calls from God to live a consecrated life, that is to live as married couples or as singles who belong not to themselves but to God. Our lives are not our own – they belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19b,20; Romans 14:7-8)
The union of a man and a woman, their becoming ‘one flesh’ in charity, in fruitful and indissoluble love, is a sign that speaks of God with a force and an eloquence which stands in contradiction to so many material standards that the world seems to uphold.
As you think of marriage, look at all the signs that mark a true follower of Christ.
It begins with two people pledging their lives to one another. They are giving up a part of their independence because they believe that love is the great command and marriage brings forth even greater love. It is no different then when we acknowledge that God is the center of our lives and we yield to His will.
A married couple seek to bring out the best in one another. To always build up and never take away. An authentic Christian seeks always to illume the love of Christ to the world. He/she seeks to bring that love in world and deed to enhance the lives of others.
A married couple pledge fidelity to one another. A follower of Christ begins each day by giving thanks to God for all that God has done and, in return, the Christian pledges
Faithfulness to living the word of God.
At the time of marriage, spouses commit to “love and honor each other as husband and wife for the rest of your lives.” To honor each other each day for the rest of one’s life means, basically, to praise and revere each other, to say, “You did this. You didn’t have to. And I’m grateful.” The authentic Christian knows that since his/her life is a gift from God than each day we should honor God in our lives.
Repeating Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, the apostle James says, “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’” For married couples, this means not only that they should be truthful to teach other, but that they continue to reiterate their “Yes,” their “I do!” to each other each of the days of their marriage. They said “yes” when they pledged to love each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, in poverty and prosperity, all the days of their life. It’s obviously a huge challenge when they enter a time they’d consider “bad” or “worse” to remember and reiterate one’s commitment. But that’s precisely what Jesus always does to us, renewing his commitment to us every time we fall. He’ll give us the strength we need to love each other as he has loved us by being as merciful with each other as he is with us.
Marriage should be, and often is, a living Gospel of the love of God for us and how we should bring alive that love in the world around us. But marriage is not for all, there are some who, for whatever reason, have chosen not to marry. Their lives are no less special. They too emulate the Gospel in the way they live their loves and bring alive the gifts of charity, fidelity and reverence for God.
The world today needs to see the marks of God’s love for us. A love so great that it blesses reach person it touches. Let each of us return that love by honoring our Lord by making love an active verb in our lives.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus Christ, your call to holiness extends to all in every state of life. Sanctify our lives – as married couples and as singles – that we may live as men and women who are consecrated to you. Make us leaven in a society that disdains life-long marriage fidelity, chastity, and living single for the Lord”
The Lord Jesus through the gift of the Holy Spirit gives the grace and the power to those who seek to follow his way of holiness in their state of life. His grace and power bring freedom, discipline, and strength to live a life of love, joy, and holiness. Do you seek the Lord and his grace (his strength and power) in your state of life?