Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
(James 5:9-12; Mark 10:1-12)
Before epoxy glues were sold commercially, scientists would demonstrate their strength to students. They took two pieces of chain with plugs at the end and fastened them together with the epoxy. Then they asked two husky boys to pull on either side of the chain. Meanwhile, they put a safety cord connecting both sides in case the chain should give. Of course, the boys could not pull the cemented chains apart. The epoxy glue held the two sides together as if they were always one. In today’s gospel Jesus is saying that marriage has a comparable solidity.
The permanence of marriage evidently has always been at issue. When Moses saw the problem of troubled marriages, he wrote a provision for divorce into the Law. However, Jesus will not accept Moses’ allowance as the Creator’s intention. He forbids divorce as against the design of matrimony. He uses strong language to defend his position. Those who divorce to marry another person commit adultery.
Divorce continues to plague society and, therefore, the Church. Recently some bishops have tried to allow for some exceptions to Jesus’ rule. However, Pope Francis has concluded that Jesus’ prohibition remains intact. True, he has facilitated matrimonial annulments. But in line with the synod called to consider the question, Francis supports the gospel tradition.