Friday, August 12, 2016

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, 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 have neighborhoods where junk that has been tossed into the yard of an empty house. There are homes that are dilapidated and falling apart. There is trash thrown onto the street 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 in 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 end the relationship. In today’s world, there is a strong tendency to see a commitment as good only as long as it is going well. When difficulties arise, we may be tempted to walk away rather than stay and try to work it out.

Today Jesus calls us to take our personal relationships and commitments very seriously. Deep and loving commitment is the most precious gift we can give to another person. Yes, we will make mistakes and 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 have been very difficult times in your life with these individuals. However, you know that these individuals love you and support you. Today, give thanks for their presence in your life. Give thanks for the love and the many gifts they have given you and perhaps take the time to thank them for the gift they continue to be for you!

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