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JESUS CONDEMNS DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE

Father Francis's picture
Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

James 5:9-12 & Mk. 10:1-12

We are not to grumble against one another but, according to Saint James, help and encourage each other in every way possible. We must try to act towards one another as God acts towards us, as in today's responsorial psalm, "The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy."

We must be truthful and people of our word - 'yes' should mean yes and 'no' must mean no.

Jesus' words are so absolute and unbending. They can also sound very harsh, especially to people who have been through a divorce, or if a family member or close friend has suffered a failed marriage. On the one hand, we can say that Jesus can heal even the most difficult of marriages. But on the other, experience tells us that divorce is a traumatic reality that can leave deep and lasting wounds.

Think about the pain that divorced couples feel. A relationship that began with high ideals, and much joy and optimism, has degenerated into distrust, anger, rejection and even hatred. What was 'one flesh' has been torn apart. How can Jesus possibly sit in merciless condemnation of those genuinely affected? The answer is He does not. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn but to save (Jn.3:17). Jesus doesn't want to crush people by telling them only where they may have gone wrong. He wants to meet all of us, wherever we are in our life journey, and offer us healing.

Those who are divorced should know that Jesus loves them just as much as ever. He even suffers with them. Think about His encounter with the woman at the well. He didn't condemn her even though she had married five times and was currently living with a man who was not her husband. Instead, He brought her to repentance, healed her and sent her back to her village to tell other people about Him.

Whether married, divorced, or single, we all need to know God's healing. God wants to mend the wounds in every marriage, as well as the wounds of those who have been affected by divorce. He wants to reconcile us, transform us, and use us to proclaim His kingdom, irrespective of what we have, or have not, done in the past. So never let us be afraid to go to Him, in whatever state we are. Let Him put His arms around us and give us His blessing.

Lord Jesus, pour out Your grace on every family that has been through divorce. Heal them and restore their hope. When occasion arises, let us be part of Your healing touch in troubled marriages.

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