The Gospel today (Matthew 19:3-12) helps us to consider anew marriage as intended by God. The reading today begins with the Pharisees asking Jesus a question regarding marriage and divorce, to which Jesus responds:
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.
“What God has joined together, man must not separate.”
When a man and a woman are joined in Holy Matrimony, by their union they are changed forever, ‘the two shall become one flesh,’ to the point that separation causes harm to those joined together:
In this clip, Caleb is telling his friend Michael how his marriage is finished, to which Michael uses salt and pepper shakers to demonstrate a part of marriage often overlooked today – the EFFECT of matrimony.
To many (like Caleb), marriage is an act that takes place between the man and the woman, but what many don’t realize, the marriage act has an lasting effect, a marriage bond, by which “the spouses mutually give and receive one another (and that union) is sealed by God himself” (CCC #1639). What God has joined together, let no one separate.
The Pharisees were not satisfied, however, and questioned further as to why Moses commanded that a man may divorce his wife? Jesus simply responds, “Because of the hardness of your hearts.”
Hardness of heart is a heart closed to love. Our society often equates ‘love’ with an emotion or feeling, and has forgotten the deeper, more accurate compass – that of commitment – by which to gauge ones relationship. This is important in any relationship, but especially in spousal relationships.
Our feelings can betray us, and when the ‘feeling’ is gone, we seek to fill that void of emotion with something outside of our commitment (or covenant). May we learn from the One who is always faithful how to become persons of love. The Scriptures use the wedding banquet as a symbol of God’s love for us. Let us then, study His commitment, and pray, that in our own choosing to love, may the doors open to life-lasting relationships, and yes, love by God’s standard.