19th Week in Ord. Time, Friday – 12th August 2022 — Gospel: Mt 19,3-12
Fulfilling God’s intent
This section brings out Jesus’ teachings as a response to the three questions that were put forth. First, there is the lead question by the Pharisees about divorce (19,3). Jesus answers that God the Creator did not include the dissolution of marriage as a viable option (19,4-6). Second, there is the follow-up question about Moses’ permitting people to divorce (19,7). To this Jesus answers that divorce was permitted because of sin, and that divorce is a sin (19,8-9). Third, there is the disciple’s cynical question that it would be better not to marry (19,10). Jesus answers that a special measure of grace is required for people to abstain from marriage (19,11-12).
Jesus’ teaching seems to be counter-cultural even in his own time. He affirms resolutely that marriage, as originally intended by God, was meant to be a permanent, life-long commitment. According to him, the unity of man and woman is a re-enactment of the design of God for creation. Divorce goes contrary to the design of the creator, and it is to be considered either rebellion against or failure to fulfill the will of God. Jesus emphasizes God’s intent “from the beginning,” that is, before sin entered the world. His words imply that from the beginning God had it one way and never changed it, but then Moses gave another. And now I am going to restore the divine way. The believer should not fall into the trap of a culture that allows divorce for any reason. He should keep in mind the divine will of the creator and try to live life as God intended it.