USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.
The Pharisees approached Jesus 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?”
“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.”
And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me;
do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to
such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.
Good News Reflection: Supernatural love in marriage
Do you love someone who isn’t loving you back? Have you experienced God’s supernatural love helping you love those who are difficult to love?
For those of us who are married, we expect to be loved by our spouses as much as we need to be loved. And we assume that it’s always going to be mutual: We will always be loved by our spouse with the same passion as we love them.
However, most marriages enter difficulties that require supernatural love as well as supernatural persistence. That’s why we need the Sacrament of Matrimony instead of just a civil ceremony at the courthouse or beach. Marriages need divine grace to endure with the permanence that God provides.
In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus explains that the law of Moses permitted divorce (Deut. 24:1) because of the hardness of people’s hearts. This is not an approval of divorce. He wants us to have hearts like his own, which never stops loving anyone.
In the days of Moses, when a marriage became difficult or unsatisfying, many men abandoned their wives. Although marriage was, from the beginning (Genesis Chapter 1) supposed to be a permanent covenant that united one man with one woman, a bill of divorce would allow an abandoned or rejected woman to remarry for her protection. It was never intended to be an approval of divorce.
Marriage is a reflection of God’s faithful union with us. Permanence in marriage is a divine gift from God so that we can reflect him well. If we don’t believe in the permanence of love within marriage, how can we believe that God is always in love with us — including when we don’t deserve it? And how can the children and others who watch us believe?
Remember, sometimes the lover goes to the Cross for the beloved. The vocation of marriage ordains the spouses to be a reflection of Christ’s passion for all.
For building faith-filled marriages, subscribe to my Reflections for Couples at reflections-for-couples.org and see what else is available in the Good News website marriagevocation.net.
God never forces us to stay “married” to him. He loves us even when we turn away from him. Likewise, an unloved spouse is called by God to continue loving the one who abandons the marriage, even if only from afar. This is also true in any God-ordained friendships, and between priests and the laity they serve, and parents with their children.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
Have you ever quit a relationship because it was too hard? Did you really stop loving that person? How is the way you handled it like or unlike the heart of Christ?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
How has God helped you love someone who quit loving you? How did you open yourself to receive his divine help? Describe how this reveals to others what God’s love is really like.
Beloved Lord Jesus: I want to build my marriage on You, the solid rock. Come and reign in it and may we, husband and wife, let You lead us with Your love, remaining together, as You remain in our Father. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica