Whew! What a week it has been in the Scriptures! Our first reading today from James 5 has so many lessons for us, about perseverance, judging and the compassion and mercy of the Lord. James also tells us, “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ ” Very important words about Christian integrity. In today’s Gospel from Mark 10, Jesus talks about marriage. Uh-oh!
A lot of people wonder why the Catholic Church takes such a hard line on marriage. Why the whole annulment thing? And why can’t one receive the Eucharist until they take care of that? The answer is found in today’s Gospel. The Church has no choice, because this is the clear teaching of Jesus. And we all know that this is a very delicate matter, one that causes some to even leave the Church.
Divorce is a terrible, painful thing. Statistics tell us that Catholics and other Christians fall right in line with society as a whole when it comes to ending marriages…in the area of 50% end in divorce. But the Church, as guardian of the truth, must protect the sanctity of marriage because Jesus spoke it. The culture today tells us that marriage is dispensable. But Jesus teaches otherwise. Why would that be a surprise? After all, aren’t most of Jesus’ teachings counter-cultural? I hope you will join me in praying daily for marriages.
Father, we offer up to you all marriages today and every day. Give couples the grace to live out their sacrament, to make each other holy, and to put Jesus at the center of their relationship. Amen.