27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In this week’s Gospel, we are presented with a passage from Scripture where the pharisees try to test Jesus. Jesus, however, shows that He is in control of the situation and does not fall into the trap of the pharisees. He is able to very skillfully use the question of the pharisees, as an opportunity to teach and present a proper understanding of Marriage.
In confronting Jesus with the question of divorce, the pharisees look to the teaching of Moses on the matter. Jesus, however, presents a teaching on marriage which seeks to delve much deeper into the Sacrament. He first draws a reference to the beginning of Genesis, where God created man, male and female, and called them to become one flesh. In this way, Jesus emphasizes the unbreakable, unitive bond of marriage, which was in the mind of God from the very beginning. While presenting the context in which Moses allowed for divorce, that of the “unteachableness” of the people, Jesus asks that His followers go beyond a superficial outlook and ponder on the very nature of marriage itself. Jesus explains that, because marriage is a bond made, before God, where the two persons become one flesh, man does not have the power to break this bond, which God has made. Here, Jesus explains that it was because of the people’s “hardness of heart,” that Moses allowed for divorce. He, therefore shows that the people, in the time of Moses, were unteachable because of their lack of complete openness to God, within their hearts.
In the Bible, The image of marriage is the most common image used to describe the relationship between God and His people. It is through the image of marriage that we are given a clear understanding of the union that God desires to have with us, and which comes to its fulfillment in the Beatific Vision, after death. When we think of the analogy of marriage, in the relationship between God and His people, we see a perfect embodiment of this image in the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church. Christ brings about our salvation in a total act of selfless love through the gift of His life, for us, on the Cross. If we are to better understand the indissoluble nature of the Sacrament of Marriage, we must first reflect on the marriage between Christ and the Church. In this marriage, Christ is ever faithful and desires only the very best for His bride, the Church, even to the point of death.
It is not always easy for us to follow the will of God and we are often tempted to move away from God. In the case of Marriage, for example, it may seem the easy way out, when there is so much infidelity in our world today, to provide an escape mechanism, through divorce. It is, however, only in following Christ, in every aspect of our lives, that we gain true fulfillment, in the long run. We only have to look around us to see the negative effects of keeping the love of God out of our lives. It is in light of this, that we, as Christians, need to abandon ourselves to the will of God, just like little children. It is no wonder, therefore, that Our Lord, at the end of today’s Gospel, asks that the little children come to him. In our faith in God, we must develop the trust of a little child, always knowing that true happiness comes in being immersed in the love of God.
As we end this meditation, let us turn to Our Blessed Mother, and pray that she will teach us how to give our lives completely over to God, just as she did all through her life.
Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” “What did Moses command you?” he replied.They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
– Mark 10:2-16