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.“
Some ignorant Catholics naively believe that, one of these days, the Church will “modernize” herself, adapt herself to the times and allow divorce—as do our Protestant brethren. Well, this will never happen because, as we can see from today’s gospel reading, the prohibition of divorce comes from Christ himself.
Why is Christ so adamantly against divorce? For many reasons. One of these, perhaps the most fundamental, is that couples are made one by God (“let no one separate what God has joined”). Another reason is that divorce deprives children of their much needed support system and destroys their emotional world at the time of their greatest fragility. Furthermore, divorce is a too easy way out of a difficult situation: it dispenses people from facing their mutual failings and thus from growing up. Most divorces could be prevented if both spouses learned to daily use three simple words: “I am sorry.”
A marriage is like a house: it needs regular maintenance. That requires a lot of work, but it is well worth it. A good marriage is more beautiful than any royal palace.
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