27th Sunday In Ordinary Time (Year B)
A REFLECTION OF THE HEART
Mark 10:2-16 “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.”
Sunday, 7th October 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
GOSPEL :Mark 10:2-16
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.
The Gospel of the Lord/ Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
The Gospel for this Sunday presents us a very sensitive and controversial issue i.e Divorce. In today’s Gospel text the Pharisees approached Jesus to challenge him concerning the issue about divorce. They asked our Lord, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” The issue about divorce is obviously one of the most controversial topics during Jesus’ time. In fact, St John the Baptist literally lost his head when he condemned King Herod for taking his brother’s wife. And undoubtedly, it still is as controversial as ever even to this date. Many people are having difficulties accepting the Theology about divorce, and therefore, we deal with this issue with sensitivity and care. But in the end, whether we agree or not our Lord made a clear and firm stance. Jesus never waters down his message. It is not in the will of God for a marriage to end up in divorce. Marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman and God wills it to last a lifetime. “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Then Jesus further said, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” It was indeed strong words from our Lord Jesus himself. Does that mean that Jesus hates those who are divorced? I understand that we have members of the Church who went into this process, some couples are separated and there are those who are civilly married. Does Jesus condemn those people? Not at all! I think Jesus deals with them with compassion, healing, acceptance, forgiveness, and love. It is demonstrated on how he dealt with the woman caught in adultery, the same as in the case of the woman at the well. More than anything else our Lord Jesus made more emphasis on the truth about mercy, forgiveness, and love.
The ideal is for the married couple to remain faithful until death… The truth is, not all marriages last until death. Husbands and wives commit mistakes. Nobody’s perfect, so to speak. Many couples break apart. Relationships fall apart. So the question is – Is there life after divorce? Absolutely, there is life after divorce. We don’t want to see people living miserably. The issue with regards divorce has become a very touchy subject even in the central government of the Church. The good news is that our pope, Pope Francis and the like-minded people around him are determined to find the pastoral approach in dealing with this most important issue. This is in line with the Pope’s vision of making the Church an instrument of God’s mercy and compassion.
It takes a lot of hard work to make a marriage really work. Pope Francis said, “Married life must be persevering, because, otherwise love cannot go forward. Perseverance in love, in good times and in difficult times, when there are problems …love perseveres.”
Story (Jack McArdle): A tough battle-ax of a wife was seeking advice from the marriage counselor. “I hate my husband,” she began. “He’s making my life a hell on earth. I want a divorce and I want to make things as tough as possible for him.”
The counselor advised, “Begin by showering him with compliments, indulge his every whim. Then when he realizes how much he needs you and wants you, start your divorce proceedings.”
Six months later the counselor met the woman and asked, “When are you going to file your divorce papers?”
“Are you out of your mind?” replied the woman indignantly, “We are divinely happy!”
When two people make a vow to love each other and be with each other all the days of their lives, it is a sacred vow. It is a covenant between two people. It is even more beautiful because it is a sacrament. It is not just husband and wife making a covenant with each other in marriage, but it is husband and wife making a covenant to each other with Jesus in marriage. The secret therefore of a lasting marriage is to make Jesus the center of married couples’ lives.