7th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jas 5:9-12
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates. Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed, we call blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, because the Lord is compassionate and merciful. But above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,” that you may not incur condemnation.
Gospel: Mk 10:1-12
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.”
“THEREFORE, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”: Jesus had already spoken against divorce (Sermon on the Mount Mt 5: 31-32) though it was allowed by Moses. This provides a good ground to the Pharisees to test him. So they ask, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” Jesus has either to say against the teaching of Moses, the highest authority for the Jews, or against his own earlier teaching. But Jesus after asking them what Moses taught them, gives the reason why he permitted divorce and refers back to the original plan of God himself in the beginning at creation, “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” I may have hundred and one reasons to do something but one reason is enough not to do it- God does not want me to do it. In the same way I may have thousand and one reason not to do something but one reason is enough to do it – God wants me to do it.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to seek your will in all things and obey it however difficult it might be.
VALUE OF FRIENDSHIP: An African wisdom saying goes like this: faster, just walk alone; but to move farther, you must walk with others. Human nature demands companionship. We find fulfilment in the company of friends and family because man is essentially a social animal and not an isolated nomad. This fact of human incompleteness is like a jig-saw puzzle, and it will take the proper piece to complete it. Because of the natural expectation that friends will complete our inadequacies, greater scrutiny must be invested in our choice of friends. We must be even more cautious in choosing marriage partners. As the institution divinely ordained to complete human aloneness, it must have been in the divine will that marriage is united by true and genuine friendship. This must be the meaning of the words: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh (Gen. 2: 23). So the dialogue on divorce is superfluous. Divorce does not fit within the understanding of marriage as intended by God. The increasing call for divorce today, however, is because little effort and time is invested in courtship. Ample courtship tests the quality of friendship, which is the foundation upon which every marriage should be established.