12 August 2016
Friday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time
St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Widow
Ez 16:1 - 15, 60, 63 / Mt 19: 3 – 12
Born in France, St. Jane Frances de Chantal (1572 – 1641) founded the Order of the Visitation under the guidance of St. Francis de Sales (1567 – 1622).
From the Gospel Reading: Mt 19: 3 - 12
Some Pharisees approached him. They wanted to test him and asked, "Is a man allowed to divorce his wife for any reason he wants?"
Jesus replied, "Have you not read that in the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and he said: Man has now to leave father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one body? So they are no longer two but one body; let no one separate what God has joined."
They asked him, "Then, why did Moses command us to write a bill of dismissal in order to divorce?" Jesus replied, "Moses knew your stubborn heart, so he allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not so in the beginning. Therefore I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, unless it be for infidelity, and marries another, commits adultery."
The disciples said, "If that is the condition of a married man, it is better not to marry." Jesus said to them, "Not everybody can accept what you have just said, but only those who have received this gift. Some are born incapable of marriage. Some have been made that way by others. But there are some who have given up the possibility of marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who can accept it, accept it."
In the Gospel, Jesus speaks of the indissolubility of the union of married couples, which is God's original plan for all marriages. God's desire is for spouses to be united in love and to be faithful to one another. But the truth is that the preservation of a marriage depends not only on God but also on the couple.
The Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce. Here in the Philippines where divorce is still not legal, many marriages have broken and many couples have separated. What causes these? The inability of couples to reconcile their differences which sooner or later arise in their marriages. Other causes are pride, lack of understanding, and the inability to accept the spouse with all his/her imperfections. Marriages may not be perfect but imperfect couples can make their marriage work if they put God in the center of their marriage.
Jesus also says that God gives man the freedom to remain single but to remain single means to be celibate for the sake of God's kingdom. So whether you are married or single and celibate, you must rely on the faithfulness of God who gives graces for us to be true to our vocation. For this to happen, we must put God in the center of our lives.
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