“Whom God has joined, let no man separate.”

Reading 1 Ez: 16:1-15, 60, 63

Or Ez: 16:59-63

Psalm: Is 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

Gospel: Mt 19:3-12

The general principle of Jesus’ vision of Christian marriage is clear: marriage is indissoluble. Jesus interprets Genesis: “Whom God has joined, let no man separate.”

Moses, however, did allow divorce. And so the Pharisees bring this up to Jesus. Jesus responds, “What Moses said was not a law, it was a concession.” The Jews of Moses’ day were hardheaded, he says, they refused to accept that a man must remain united with one woman for life.

The Pharisees’ understanding of Moses’ attitude toward divorce provides Jesus with an opportunity to present his vision of what marriage is. And a very beautiful vision it is! A lifelong love commitment: a shared life stretching over many years, so intimate in every aspect of its reality that the two spouses can be called one flesh; a life of love, issuing in the gift of love the spouses give to each other and to God, the child; the years of loving nurture and care which will allow the child to grow into a loving adulthood in the service of God and neighbor.

A truly inspiring vision.

Only with the help of Christ and his Holy Spirit can the couple develop the sympathy, the understanding, the forgiving spirit, the caring love, which any marriage would welcome, which Christian marriage demands.