“And the two shall become one flesh.” — Mark 10:8a
Oct. 4, Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle B. Readings:
1) Genesis 2:18-24
2) Hebrews 2:9-11
Gospel: Mark 10:2-16 or Mark 10:2-12
By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service
How many of us have watched, in our own families or the families of those close to us, as husbands and wives have endured rough patches — some short, others stretching over decades. At times, it may have seemed easier, we might have observed, to dissolve a marriage and give both parties the chance to begin anew.
My father, as much as I loved him, didn’t become a particularly easy fellow to live with until many years into his retirement. But a bit before my mother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, he changed. His compassion became more pronounced, and his concern for my mother began to develop a nurturing side that had not surfaced since his children were small.
His was a long, steep upward climb to maturity. Had my mother not held on during those more difficult times in their marriage, he would not have been there as her close emotional and physical support during her last years.
Today’s Genesis Scripture speaks of God’s creation of marriage, of the physical unity of husband and wife. The familiar passage that sums up that unity ends with the words, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh.”
In the passage from Mark, Jesus quotes this Scripture when he answers the Pharisees’ questions about divorce. It is “the hardness of your hearts” he says, that caused Moses to provide a means under the law for men to divorce their wives.
These are interesting Scriptures to consider at an interesting time in the life of the world and the church, especially in light of the beautiful theology on marriage and the family to be taught and discussed at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Perhaps even more pertinent is the end of this passage in Mark, in which Jesus, on allowing small children to approach him over the objections of his disciples, says, “Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”
Do you find it easy or hard to respond to the “difficult” teachings of Jesus with a childlike willingness to obey?
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