Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

(James 5:9-12; Mark 10:1-12)

Divorce occurs more frequently than anyone likes.  The couple may have married without knowing each other well or without knowing themselves.  Their individual lives may have been on completely different trajectories that they were unable to harmonize.  Whatever its reason, divorce leaves behind wreckage.  One of the partners is usually devastated with the sense of betrayal.  Children rightly feel the loss of love and often enough are relegated to poverty.  But it is not precisely for these reasons that Jesus condemns divorce in the gospel today.

Jesus denounces divorce because it violates God’s plan for the world.  In creating men and women as complimentary beings whose coming together transmits life to others, God constructs the basic cell of human society.  Its full realization, however, is not a momentary achievement but requires continual attention and sacrifice -- qualities that virtually define love. Only with healthy cells replicated a billion times around the world, will there be a civilization implicitly worthy of the name.

In the first reading the Letter of James tells us that our “Yes” must mean “Yes.”  This admonition is hardly ever more important than in marriage.  Yet it is not enough for marriages to succeed.  Beyond fidelity, we must give of ourselves significantly so that others as well as ourselves may thrive.