Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
(II Corinthians 4:7-15; Matthew 5:27-32)
Lust may be the most problematic of the vices. Yet it is not the most serious. Indeed, Thomas Aquinas calls it the least offensive of the capital sins because it is the most natural. This does not mean it is not harmful nor matter of mortal sin. Quite puzzlingly in very recent times sociologists have discovered that Americans are less likely to have sexual relations than at other times since the sixties. Evidently youth are substituting pornography and masturbation for sexual intercourse. What might we derive from today’s gospel about this disturbing tendency?
Of course, Jesus makes here the provocative statement that anyone who looks at a woman with lust commits adultery. The reference to sinning with one’s hand also hints of sexual offense. The description of divorce and remarriage should likewise be considered as sexual deviance.
With all these sexual matters we might think that Jesus frowns upon sexual intimacy. But this way of thinking is simply not true. Jesus and, certainly, the Church value sexual relations greatly. They both deepen the love of marriage partners as well as facilitate the growth of the human family. But we must be sure in our understanding of sexual intimacy. It is for married couples and is not to be done primarily for pleasure but out of mutual love.