Friday, August 14, 2015

Reflection: Matthew 19:3-12

Friday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time – Matthew 19:3-12

Today the Pharisees come to Jesus to question him again. They ask him: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” Jesus replied to them: “Haven’t you read the Scriptures? From the beginning God made them male and female. It is for this reason that a man leaves his father and mother to join with a woman and makes her his wife. The two of them become one flesh! And what God has joined together shall not be separated.”

However, the Pharisees were not content with Jesus’ response. They asked him why Moses commanded a man to give a woman “a bill of divorce.” Jesus did not directly answer their question. Rather, he told them that Moses allowed divorce because of the “hardness of heart” that was in the people. Jesus added: “Anyone who divorces his/her spouse and marries another woman, commits adultery.” These are extremely strong and unsettling words!

As we know, in today’s world, divorce is very prevalent. In many ways we have become a throw-away society. We see junk that has been tossed into the yard of an empty house. There are houses that are dilapidated and falling apart. There is trash thrown onto the highway rather than put in a trash container. If something doesn’t work, we discard it. It is cheaper and easier to replace an item than to have it repaired.

We also may tend to do this with our personal relationships. If a marriage is not working, the couple may decide to divorce rather than go to counseling. If a friendship is “on the rocks” we may decide to walk away from it. If an individual has hurt me, I may decide to end the relationship. It would be too difficult and painful to work through it with the individual. And would I ever be able to trust them again?

In today’s world, there is a strong tendency to see commitment as good only as long as it is going well. When difficulties arise, we may be tempted to walk away rather than to stay and try to work it out. Today Jesus calls us to take our personal relationships and commitments very seriously. True, deep and loving commitment is the most precious gift we can give to another person. Yes, we will mess up and of course there will be difficulties. However, a loving and long-lasting relationship (marriage, friendship, family, church community, etc.) may be the greatest gift we receive in our lifetime.

Take a moment and think about the people in your life who have loved you, forgiven you, held you, laughed with you and celebrated precious moments with you. Can you imagine your life without them? No doubt, there also have been very difficult times in your life with these people. However, you knew that these individuals loved you and that they would support you. Today give thanks for their presence in your life. Give thanks for the many gifts and the love they have given you. And perhaps take the time to personally thank them for the gift they continue to be to you!

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