As so often, the "Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" (Mar 10:2 RSV). Divorce is, or at least can be off-course, a very sensitive issue. It is very easy to take a hard-line on the matter but because marriage is something that is so the core of somebodies live, it can turn somebodies life completely upside down when difficulties arise. So I will continue with caution, I guess writing to the multitude and not at specific individual cases, as I do belief it is very important that the multitude understands the sacredness of marriage, and through deeper reflection might come to a deeper experience and depth of its truth.
It is important to consider marriage seriously. Jesus is normally not very firm if it comes to judging a moral situation, most of the time very forgiving, but in this case He plainly lays His teaching out before the Pharisees. When they argue that Moses allowed them to divorce He replies:
"For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment." (Mar 10:5 RSV)But why is Our Lord so strong on the fact that a man and a woman should not divorce? He says later to His disciples "whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her" (Mar 10:11 RSV)
It is because at the center of marriage is a communion of love, a man and a woman who love each other. Love is at the center of everything, as God is love (cf. 1Jn 4:8). Marriage pre-figures our relation as it will be in Heaven, or maybe more accurately, it is the life of the Trinity in some-kind of a way pre-figured on earth. In marriage a man and a woman come together and form a unity of love, and that is our understanding of the Trinity, the Father and the Son share in their love, and this Love is so real that it becomes the Holy Spirit.
"But from the beginning of creation, `God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh." (Mar 10:6-8 RSV)So this is substantial and important, not just some juridical contract, but something much deeper than that. Marriage is a true gift from God, a gift that allows us to have a foreshadow of our experience in Heaven, and as such Jesus says:
"What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." (Mar 10:9 RSV)So, I think it would be a good thing to reflect on that, on the positive aspect of this teaching. The firmness Jesus but in His reply, indicates the importance, and it can enrich ones life so much.
Off course things can go wrong, and this world is not perfect, but it is a fallen world. Most things that are of them self good and beautiful end up being disfigured through our fallen nature and indeed can end up the opposite. That is why it is so important that couples pray together, so that difficulties in the marriage do not result in a growing apart, but through mutual understanding, acceptance, forgiveness and foremost love are overcome and result in a stronger bond. It is the acceptance of Gods love that can heal everything.
I feel I can continue for a long time on the topic of love, but maybe then more on the love of God for us and the experience of this love in our life, but as that might be a bit off topic for this Sundays Gospel I think I leave it as this apple attempt to give some-kind a reflection.
"Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." (Mar 10:15 RSV)