Gospel: Mt 19:3-12
Some Pharisees approached him. They wanted to test him and asked, “Is a man allowed to divorce his wife for any reason he wants?”
Jesus replied, “Have you not read, that, in the beginning, the Creator made them male and female? And the Creator said: Therefore, a man shall leave father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one body. So, they are no longer two, but one body. Let no one separate what God has joined.”
They asked him, “Then why did Moses command us to write a bill of dismissal in order to divorce?” Jesus replied, “Moses knew the hardness of your hearts, so he allowed you to divorce your wives; but it was not so in the beginning. Therefore, I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, unless it be for immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
The disciples said, “If that is the condition of a married man, it is better not to marry.” Jesus said to them, “Not everybody can accept what you have just said, but only those who have received this gift. There are eunuchs born so, from their mother’s womb. Some have been made that way by others. But there are some who have given up the possibility of marriage, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who can accept it, accept it.”
In today’s Gospel text Jesus affirms this original vision and regardless of the seeming impossibility of marital fidelity, he puts the highest priority on preserving the covenantal bond between husband and wife more than the comfort of the spouses or the pragmatism of divorce. Jesus’ priority must also be ours.
To the modern mind it might be considered “politically incorrect” to hold the conviction that God never intended divorce or same-sex marriage. But what the Church teaches is simply an echo of what the Lord Jesus teaches. Nothing more, nothing less. Marriage is no mere human institution. God himself seals the covenant made by the husband and wife. Monogamy was God’s will from the beginning. Divorce was only a concession. The Lord says, it was allowed by Moses because of people’s “stubbornness” or “sinfulness.” The right thing to do is to return to God’s original plan: “Let no man separate what God has joined” (v. 6).
Celibacy, though not meant for all, is a praiseworthy state especially when it is undertaken for the sake of the kingdom of God. It is a striking challenge to the materialism and secularistic values of the modern world.