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Marriage and divorce

Gospel Reading: Mt 19:3-12
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, 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.” They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” His disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” He answered, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have announced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

No Human Being must separate
Jesus affirms the sanctity of marriage. He goes back to the original plan of God in Genesis, supposedly older than the teachings of Moses. It is God’s will that man and wife become one flesh. “What God has joined together, no human being must separate” (v 6).

Divorce is later allowed by Moses – due to people’s “hardness” of heart. Infidelity is regarded as a ground to justify it. But divorce can easily be used as an excuse to contract another marriage, which Jesus calls adultery.

Jesus teaches that marriage is not just a contract between man and woman. It is a covenant involving God who takes seriously the relationship of husband and wife. No one is qualified to untie the bond of marriage, sanctioned by God.

Jesus wants lifelong commitment is marriage for the good and well-being of the family that breaks apart when husband and wife separate and contract another marriage.

It is remarkable that many Christians opt to make their marriage work in spite of their difficulties because they believe they are doing the will of God.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.