The Gospel according to Matthew (19:3-12)
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
Reflection: This is a great gospel and topic for today! Rose and I have been married for over 46 years. As like every married couple we have had ups and downs at times and yet here we are pressing in on 50 years! Truth is, we have had an amazing life together. We both were blessed with fabulous parents that also had been married for many years.
So what is marriage anyway? Well, men and women from a young age sense a certain draw to each other. It’s part of human nature to experience this. “From the beginning the Creator made them male and female…” Therefore, from the beginning, God intended the sacred unity of marriage.
Marriage is truly mysterious. Yes, husbands may think their wives are “mysterious” and wives may think the same of their husbands, but in truth each person is a sacred mystery and the unity of two people in marriage is an even greater mystery.
As a mystery, one’s spouse and marriage itself must be entered into with an openness and humility that says, “I want to know you more each and every day.” Spouses who approach their marriage with self-righteousness will always look down on the other and always fail to respect the holy mystery of the other.
Each person you get to know, especially your spouse, is a beautiful and glorious mystery of God’s creation whom you are not called to “solve” but are called to meet on a deeper and deeper level each and every day. There must always be a humility that enables spouses to be open to the other in a new way every day so that they can continually discover a greater depth of beauty in the other. It is this humility and respect for the other in marriage that enables spouses to fulfill their joint mission of becoming one. Think about it, “they are no longer two, but one flesh.” Very few truly understand what this means and even fewer live the beautiful depths of this glorious and high calling of marriage.
Action of the Day: Reflect, today, upon the mystery of the people you are called to love, especially if you are married. To call the other a “mystery” may at first lead to a smile as you acknowledge you cannot figure him/her out. But humbly recognizing the beautiful meaning of “mystery” will lead you to appreciate the uniqueness of others and help you to embrace the call to human unity, especially within your own marriage!