Daily Reflection – Aug 12, 2016
Friday 12 August 2016
First Reading: Ezekiel 16:1-15, 60, 63
You have turned from your anger to comfort me
Gospel Reading: Matthew 19:3-12
Today’s Saint: St Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (Optional Memorial)
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying,
“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”
He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning
the Creator made them male and female and said,
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”
They said to him, “Then why did Moses command
that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?”
He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts
Moses allowed you to divorce your wives,
but from the beginning it was not so.
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife
(unless the marriage is unlawful)
and marries another commits adultery.”
His disciples said to him,
“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.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so;
some, because they were made so by others;
some, because they have renounced marriage
for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”
But from the beginning it was not so. (Matthew 19:8)
Your neighbor knocks on your door in tears. Her husband just told her that he wants a divorce, and she feels devastated. They had been married for twelve years and have two children. She’s a faithful Catholic, and she has always tried to do what’s right. But now, she feels as if her world is crumbling around her.
Jesus tells us God always intended marriage to be forever, to be a sacrament, a reflection of God’s love for us. So if there are no “loopholes,” what about your neighbor? Is Jesus angry with her?
Saddened is more like it. Jesus longs for married couples to experience the unity and love that were God’s intention “from the beginning” (Matthew 19:8). It always breaks his heart when a relationship becomes so damaged that the couple cannot receive these blessings.
Situations like these cry out for the love, the mercy, and the compassion of God. The last thing a person needs is a lecture or any comment that would increase his or her sense of guilt and anguish.
This is why, in his apostolic exhortation on the family, Pope Francis wrote, “When faced with difficult situations and wounded families . . . pastors are to avoid judgments that do not take into account the complexity of various situations, and they are to be attentive, by necessity, to how people experience and endure distress because of their condition” (On the Joy of Love, 79).
What is true for pastors is true for all of us. God wants us to be instruments of his healing and mercy. He wants us to leave the judgment to him. So let’s keep this point in mind as we pray for our friends who are struggling in their marriages. Let’s ask our heavenly Father to flood each person with the experience of his extraordinary and concrete love for them. Let’s ask Jesus to pour his grace on husbands and wives today so that, secure in God’s love for them, they can once again experience the solidarity and love that made them no longer two but one.
“Father, pour your mercy on every struggling married couple today. Let them know your consolation so that they can turn to you for healing and guidance.”