Gen 2:18-24; Heb 2:9-11; Mark 10:2-16
I must admit that the Word of God today is one of the most difficult to preach. It speaks about what God intended from the very beginning of time as the ideal marriage relationship—two people should become one flesh; what God has joined let no man separate; whoever divorces and remarries commit adultery.
I said it is difficult to preach. Why? Because one of my own sisters is divorced, one of my aunties is a second wife to a married man, many of my close friends are either divorcees or married to divorcees. And, on top of that, some of you here are divorcees. But having said that, as a priest it is my duty to preach according to the teaching of the Church, which I, without reservation, accept and believe.
The Catholic Church teaches that a marriage should be marked by unity—it is a total sharing of body, mind and spirit of a husband and a wife. The Catholic Church also teaches that a marriage should be a permanent relationship—meaning, only death do them part. That is an ideal marriage, which is also the original plan of God.
But we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a real world where too often selfishness overpowers love, taking dominates giving, and some marriages end in divorce. What have the Church to say about it?
To answer this, recall how Jesus condemn adultery, but forgave the woman caught in adultery; how he showed compassion toward the Samaritan woman at the well who had lived with five husbands; and how he gave Peter a new start after Peter had denied him and runaway.
Do we continue to strive for ideal marriages? Yes, with all our resources. Do we condemn divorced people whose marriage fell short of the ideal? No, we condemn divorce but not the divorcee.
The letter to the Hebrews, in the second reading, tells us that Jesus took our human nature, and thus we are of the same human stock as he, and so he can call us his brothers and sisters. The divorcees too are of the same human stock as you and I. They are our brothers and sisters.
Let’s pray that God will continue to shower His grace to all married couples so that they will always remember the origin and purpose of marriage; so that they always strive for the ideal marriage. But let’s also not forget to pray for all the divorcees, that they will continue to experience God’s forgiveness and love in their lives; and especially, so that they will find a place in the Church.