1. 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?” 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.”(Mk10:2-12)
2. The book of Genesis traces the origin of marriage to God’s initiative to have man live in a community of persons. It took a process of discernment before arriving at the decision. God first created animals and brought each to man to see if he will choose any as his life partner. Man merely gave each a name but picked none as companion. God then created a woman and on seeing her man was filled with joy. From that day marriage was born and the two became one, equal in right and dignity. From that beginning it has not been easy. Their destinies were tied such that when woman sinned man was obliged to accept to disobey God too so that his wife will not stand alone. It was for better for worse.
3. With passage of time greed, domination and selfishness crept into marriage, giving birth to series of abuses. It is from that perspective that the contemporaries of Jesus would ask him the question on the husband’s right to divorce his wife. To answer the question Jesus had to demolish the practice in vogue. He asked them what Moses taught them on the subject. Their response was that Moses permitted divorce. Jesus told them that Moses taught them the wrong thing because of their hardness of heart but the teaching contradicts the will of God. He them refered them to the Genesis creation event where God initiated the institution of marriage. His final verdict: what God has joined together humans must not separate.
4. Jesus’ position sounded unacceptable so much so that his disciples had to ask for further explanation. He told them that a man or a woman who opts for divorce and marries another lives in adultery against his or her ex. That sounded even more unacceptable. With the coming of Christ marriage recovered part of it primeval splendor. However the present time with its difficulties have brought back most of the ancient abuses against the institution. Divorce, same sex cohabitation, sexual libertinism, concubinage and pornography are some of the abuses against marriage today.
5. The Catholic Church does not close her eyes on these styles of life which attack the foundation of stable family life. In 2014 a synod on the family was organized in Rome for all the bishops of the world. Each came with the problems of his people. Like a mother who pays attention to the suffering of her children the Church wanted liberalize a lot of teachings on marriage especially on divorce. Placing sympathy side by side with authenticity, the bishops realized that they have no power to go against a direct teaching of Christ. They ended up reaffirming the teaching of Christ in today’s gospel. In the post synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis called on pastors of soul to be understanding but uncompromising with matters dealing on divorce.
6. You must have known that marriage is not an easy road. If you are yet to be married, be very careful about your choice of partner. No negative sign should be ignored at the courtship stage. If it seems not to work at that stage it may never work later. What will it profit you to walk into hell with your eyes wide open in the name of marrying at all cost.
If you are already in marriage, keep the battle on. Know that when the roof of the only house you can afford is leaking, the house should not be brought down. It is the leakage that should be fixed. Look at your marriage from the above perspective. It will help you to carry on. If your marriage is already broken down keep your faith and trust in God. Strive to remain positive about life and move on. You don’t need to backslide in your engagement with your God. He knows what you are going through. Do not forget to be praying for God’s protection on your family. ©Vita 03/10/21.