An elderly couple narrates an incident in the life of their daughter.
A couple of weeks after the marriage of their daughter, they got a call from her.
>> The newly-weds had their first big fight.
After several tense moments over the phone, the mother gave the phone to the father and asked him to speak and console her daughter.
A few minutes later, the father came back to the mother, who had been sitting worriedly, in the living room.
“What happened? What did she say”, asked the tense mother.
“She wanted to come home” replied the father.
“Oh! Then what did you tell her?” enquired the worried mother
“I told her” said the father, “she was already home!”
Yes, once married, the husband and wife form one home, “leaving their father and mother”!
>> This was the truth that was explained by the father to her daughter.
Marriage is a sacred institution – a precious covenant – that demands a lifelong commitment and a faithful dedication, despite the ups and downs of life.
It is this message that is driven home by Jesus in today’s Gospel when He expounds His teaching on the sacredness of the Covenant of Marriage.
The passage begins with a testing interrogation by the Pharisees, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” (Mk 10: 2a)
St Mark clearly points the intention of the Pharisees in asking this question to Jesus: “To Test Him” (Mk 10: 2b)
Jesus was in the district of Judea, across the Jordan (Mk 10:1)
>> Is there something specific in this particular detail being mentioned – “across the Jordan”?
“Across the Jordan” was the place where John the Baptist had been working (Jn 1: 28)
>> By mentioning the place, St Mark alludes to the outcome that had befallen on John the Baptist.
John the Baptist had got into great persecution because of his open-condemnation of the adulterous relationship of King Herod with Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. (Mk 6:17)
>> By putting forward the “same question of divorce” before Jesus, the Pharisees were laying a much greater trap…
… If Jesus condemned divorce, it could amount to an act of treason against King Herod, the ruler of the land!
John the Baptist had lost his head due to the strong stance on the issue of divorce
>> Now Jesus, is also being snared into such a life-threatening trap!
But Jesus remains the Person that He is – uncompromising, unflinching, convinced, bold and daring!
A big lesson for us too, to learn from Jesus…
>> There will be situations in life when people get into our skin, trying to put us into confusion and even states of danger…
… Can we still remain undaunted and courageous to stand firm on our convictions and principles?
Jesus came to the world to demonstrate the magnanimity of God’s Love.
This magnanimity includes…
… His unconditional manner of loving us, irrespective of our worthiness
… His unflinched faithfulness to us, despite our many acts of betrayal and disloyalty
It is this model of God’s love that becomes the blueprint for us in loving others, and especially in a marriage relationship.
The partners, pledged in love to each other in marriage, ought to imitate the love that God has for us…
>> We have cheated and strayed away from what God wants of us…
… He still loves us and is faithful to us
>> We have, on innumerable occasions, spat at His face by our shameful deeds and defamed His name by our sinful acts…
… He still holds us close to Him and remains loyal to us
>> We have, despite many warnings, purposely hurt Him in thoughts, words and deeds and even rejected His graces by not co-operating with His Will for us…
… He still waits patiently for our return and constantly seeks to draw us to Him
>> We have failed Him many times, but He has always made efforts to try to win us
>> We have hurt and pained Him much, but He has still longs for us, with His soothing balm of acceptance
It is this “magnanimity of God’s Love” that becomes the basis, the inspiration and the ideal in every marriage relationship.
>> Therefore Jesus says, “What therefore God has joined, let not man put asunder” ( Mt 19: 6b)
We live in a world where the quickest solution to many problems is found in “throwing it away!”
>> And the same mentality affects human relationships too… especially to those in marriage.
The challenge therefore is to dare to swim against these worldly currents and bring in the “Jesus Culture of Faithful Commitment” in human relationships, especially of marriage.
Theoretically speaking, this sounds quite good and wonderful.
>> But when it comes down to the actual practice.. in married lives… it is undoubtedly a very hard effort.
“But what is impossible for humans is possible for God” (Lk 18: 27), is the assurance of Jesus.
When the going gets really hard and we want to call it ‘quits’ in our relationships…
… let us look to Jesus who said “Yes to the Will of God” in the painful agony at Gethsemane
>> There may seem no hope ahead…
>> There may appear only meaninglessness ahead…
Still, can we say Yes to God’s Will – to be faithful and committed?
When none of our efforts of restoration work out and we get ‘fed’ up and feel to have reached the ‘limit’ in relationships…
… let us look to Jesus Crucified, who was never ‘fed’ up with our misdeeds and our constant misunderstanding and misuse of His love
>> It may look like the end of the road…
>> It may seem that all the past was mere fantasy and the future appears to be non-existent…
Still, can we hold on to Hope in God – to be true to our promise and be loyal?
The promises made…
>> to our Faith in Baptism
>> to the spouse in Marriage
>> to the Lord in Consecrated and Priestly Life
… all demand an undissolved commitment, an undiluted faithfulness and an unmixed dedication.
May we grow in the understanding of “being faithful and committed” to our relations…
… and seek to “feel at home” – with God and with one another!
God Bless! Live Jesus!