A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 19:3-12
3 Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”
4 He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said,
5 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?
6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”
7 They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?”
8 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.
9 I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”
10 His disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
11 He answered, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted.
12 Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”
Reflection: Hardness of heart
Good News: God gave us the freedom to marry or not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.
More often than not, people do something to be happy. They marry to be happy. Then they want divorce to be happy. Nothing really gives us real happiness except God.
The gospel reading reveals that even during the time of Jesus, divorce is a very controversial issue. Jesus’ stand is very clear. Marriage is sacred. What God has joined together, no one must separate. In the Old Testament, Moses allowed divorce because people were hardheaded.
Yet even today, this fact is tossed aside by many people. “Not all can accept this word”, Jesus said. And so, we are witnessing the rise of divorce rate everywhere. Except for a handful of countries, divorce is legal even for the most trivial reason.
That is why we keep on praying and discerning the will of God in our life. We keep on encouraging people to prepare their self very well before they decide to marry. We continue to help couples who are in danger of falling apart. We continue to engage everyone to always look at himself or herself as part of the Body of Christ. We endeavor to promote chastity as a virtue among the youth and to consider single blessedness as an option instead of rushing into an unplanned marriage.
May we keep an open heart and mind to God’s grace. He alone can satisfy our desire for companionship. He alone can give us the wisdom to understand what is best for us.
See also: Matthew 18:15-20 Reflection