Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
(Sirach 6:5-17; Mark 10:1-12)
In today’s gospel Jesus both takes away the male prerogative to divorce and aligns marriage with the original intent of creation. He also reverses the consequence of original sin. At their judgment God tells Eve that she will be dominated by Adam. Now by forbidding divorce, Jesus returns at least some of the equality between the two. He seems to have a twofold purpose in this bold move: to save women from the ignominy of divorce and to urge husband and wife to become the best of friends.
The reading from Sirach indicates the value of such a relationship. A “best friend” listens to one’s venting to help the person figure out the meaning of life’s vagaries. A friend also protects one from the consequences of rash action by proffering wisdom when the person is angry or confused. Many friendships are only as deep as water on a tabletop. They coax the partners to avoid responsibility and then offer platitudes when the situation turns stressful.
We want to encourage our young to look for spouses who will be true friends. Too often men marry women more for their attractiveness than for their virtue. Women often look for men for much the same reason as well as their capacity to provide life’s comforts. These values are out of line with the Kingdom Jesus preaches. If our young are to live as Jesus would have them, they will take as much care in finding the right spouse as a Fortune 500 corporation in choosing a CFO. They will search for a person who is -- most of all – faithful, honest, caring, and wise.