Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
The Sacrament of Marriage
What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.... (v. 9)
This passage raises questions about marriage and divorce. The context of Jesus' discussion is one of many in the Gospels in which various authorities try to trap him by asking questions that had varying answers depending on the factions and schools of thought. This passage is used in the wedding liturgy as gospel reading and a source of Jesus' teaching about marriage and family.
Marriage: Grounded in the creative love of God
The sacramental nature of Marriage is in the fact that it is instituted by God, not by human. The basic understanding of family is given in the creation account in which the divine initiative is very evident. The wedding liturgy also affirms the unseen hands of God, which joins male and female through holy matrimony. Marriage is a divine call and whoever enters into it should accept the fact that the love of God is the basis of their union. Thus the marriage between a man and woman provides space for companionship and covenantal union through the creative love of God.
Marriage: Not for dissolution, but for permanence
The oneness in marriage is not a fantasy, but it is God's very design. The passage begins with a question of divorce. But Jesus turns the question from the grounds for divorce to the grounds for union. Here Jesus reframes the debate and reveals God's desire. By quoting Mosaic law, the Pharisees tried to find out a loophole for dissolution. Jesus' answer points to the fact that what is permissible, however, should neither be desirable nor what God intents for God's people. Jesus' intent is that, the man and woman are no longer two, but one. God's intent for marriage at creation is wholeness, including oneness of flesh.
Marriage: A Call to live out the Kingdom of God
Family is a miniature form of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is more concerned about what is in God's design. So the answer to the Pharisees' question was not what was permissible under the law and culture, but what was now possible in the unfolding Kingdom of peace, love and justice. This demands us to go beyond what is just permissible in the contemporary world to what was Kingdom enhanced.
Today we live in a world with changing views of marriage and divorce. Though the rate of divorce is on the increase, we cannot ritualize it. The responsibility of the Church is to participate in the ministry of healing and reconciliation. Through this passage, Jesus re-affirms the fact that the marriage union is permanent and it demands for an absolute purity of hearts in the wedded life.
Prayer:- O Lord, help us to understand the divine will in marriage and to create Kingdom of God experience in today's world through our families.
Thought for the day: Marriage is a covenant not a contract
Rev. K. E. Geevarghese, Diocesan Secretary, Sinai, NY
Theme for the week: The sacrament of Marriage