Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 345


Spring arrives at MSF...
The Pharisees approached him and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.


Saint Mark’s editorial remark throws a wholly different light on Jesus’ teaching, “They were testing him.” Apparently, they knew his opinion already because they knew the Law of Moses. Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.
Sometime in the early 1980’s a woman asked me the Church’s teaching about adultery? I assured her that it had not changed through all the upheavals of the 1960’s and 1970’s. It was pretty well spelled out in the Decalogue. She had been told otherwise by a minister who exploited her vulnerability.


Since time immemorial, it seems, people have waited for God to change the commandments about marriage. When his disappointed disciples realized that Jesus would not change the ancient teaching they remarked,
“If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” He answered, “Not all can accept [this] word, but only those to whom that is granted.”
The fact is not everyone should get married. It is a privilege not given to everyone. Nor, for that matter, is it a right. I remember another woman who wanted to discuss with me the question of marrying once again, for the seventh time. (Actually, she would remarry number five; he said he’d kill himself if she refused.) When I suggested, “Maybe you should never have married in the first place.” she said that had never occurred to her.


The sudden acceptance of “gay marriage” has caught many by surprise. To anyone who knows our philosophical and religious tradition, the idea is obviously absurd. Its acceptance only reveals the widespread failure of Christian education and formation.
One facetious argument is that gay marriage is like miscegenation, which was illegal in many states. If a black man can marry a white woman, why can’t two men marry each other? The answer should be obvious: a black man and a white woman can conceive children. A gay couple cannot.


...all in awhirl.
Marriage is about sexuality, after all. Sexuality, from the Latin word, secare, meaning to divide, is related to the words section, secular and sect. It concerns separateness, difference and the meeting of opposites in creativity. Sexual is how children are conceived. Whatever two men or two women do in the privacy of their shared beds, it’s not sex.
They were testing him. Sinful humanity will always test the Truth, looking for easier ways. They will always want the Church to bless their excuses for divorce, adultery, abortion, and so forth. And, like Socrates’ gadfly, the prophetic Church will always speak the Truth in love.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

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