Some Pharisees came, and to test Jesus they 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 dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 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 flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:2-16 New Revised Standard Version
Divorce is a tragic event that is messy. Now one can say life is messy, but divorce takes the mess, the chaos to another level. There is great pain caused by a divorce, due to an end of a relationship, which both parties experience.
Jesus tells us that relationships are important, and that we do to not casually throw away our relationships, partners, or unions that we have. Today’s gospel story speaks in contradiction of a casual treatment of our relationships, in particular, marriage. See, in its broadest sense today’s gospel story addresses the issue of relationships and how we maintain them. Jesus’ words emphasize that marriage, the ultimate union between two people, is to be one of the strongest of relationships in humanity, if not the strongest. Hence, this text calls us to consider a radicle type of faithfulness to the sanctity of this particular union, where our promises are not taken lightly. Our relationships, unions, and marriages are not to be a carless act. Once again, our relationships are not something that we can just throw away. The problems and people are not mended merely because of the separation; they do not stop when we end our relationships. That is why God calls us to commit ourselves to our relationships, unions, and marriages.
Yet, when a relationship is in turmoil caused by extra-marital affairs, spouse and child abuse, and other such matters; is a spouse obligated to stay in a dangerous relationship? Are we to stay in relationships that can cause us damage? Well, these situations are not what God hopes for any relationship. That is where Jesus becomes a protective parent, because we are Jesus’ little children. The church has had a long harmful history of silently supporting violence against women by requiring them to stay in dangerous marriages. When there is extra marital affairs, abuse, or neglect we can know that the relationship is already broken. God does not call us to stay in these relationships.
Yet, people do, through hard work. I believe that is a key to today’s gospel text. Our relationships, unions, and marriages take hard work.
What do you think?