Wednesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
(I Peter 1:18-25; Mark 10:32-45)
With so much emphasis on sex today we might think of it as a wholly contemporary concern. In truth, however, extramarital sex has always been on people’s minds. What may be new is its widespread social acceptance. Few today stand up to condemn it. Of course, the catechisms call it sinful, but often preachers steer clear of the subject. Liberal-minded people seem largely concerned that sex does not divert youth from career tracks. Conservatives often appear lost in pursuing a realistic course of action. The New Testament letters testify that licentiousness troubled the first century. They see Christ as leading the people out of the morass.
Today’s reading from the First Letter of Peter typically exhorts the people to “love…from a pure heart.” It reminds them that “’all flesh is like grass’” that withers. Therefore, they are to place their hope in God and not surrender themselves to debauchery.
Youth may respond to the argument of coherency. After all, they have a sense of justice even if not fully developed. Coherency requires congruence between what one says and does. The argument goes like this. The sexual act is the most intimate way to demonstrate one’s love. Therefore, it should be accompanied by a profession of one’s love in marriage. Absent this public profession, it is a lie as sure as Brutus’ profession of love for Caesar.