WHAT THEREFORE GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER, LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER
(A biblical reflection on the 27th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 3 October 2021)
Gospel Reading: Mark 10:2-16
First Reading: Genesis 2:18-24; Psalms: Psalm 128:1-6; Second Reading: Hebrews 2:9-11
The Scripture Text
And Pharisees came up and in order to test Him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.” But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
And in the house the disciples asked Him again about this matter. And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
And they were bringing children to Him, that He might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it He was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to Me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands upon them.(Mark 10:2-16 RSV)
The Pharisees’ question to Jesus on marriage was not just an innocent inquiry posed by a group of perplexed believers. Rather, as they did throughout Jesus’ ministry, the Pharisees were looking for a way to trap Jesus in His own words.
Although formulated as if a simple “yes” or no” answer would suffice, their question involved complex interpretations of Hebrew law. In addition, if Jesus answered one way, He could be accused of disavowing John the Baptist’s reproach of Herod for divorcing his wife and marrying his sister-in-law. If He agreed with John, however, He could become a target for Herod’s anger.
Jesus did not allow Himself to become enmeshed in the trap. Instead, He sought to raise the discussion to a higher level and take advantage of the opportunity to speak yet again of the Father’s desire to unite us in love. By trying to trick Jesus with thorny legislative questions, the Pharisees had missed the whole point about God’s plan for marriage.
Jesus took his questioners back to the beginning, when God created man and woman in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26,27) and established that in marriage the two would become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Jesus revealed marriage as a wonderful gift from God that is meant to reflect the union He longs to have with His people. Both kinds of union – between man and woman, or between God and His people – are meant to be so intimate that they must not be broken. What a privilege it is to be intimately united with God and another person!
As we consider the state of marriage in the world, perhaps even our own marriage, we may be tempted to look only at the difficulties and forget God’s power and love. Let us pray for all marriages today, that they be protected and raised up to become beautiful signs of God’s love for His people everywhere.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, how grateful we are for Your love. Fill our hearts with a deeper love for You. May Your love for us overflow to others, to bring healing and reconciliation. Amen.HisHis
Jakarta, 2 October 2021
A Christian Pilgrim