Today's Daily Mass Gospel Reading
And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?"
He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female,
and said, `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. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."
They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?"
He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unlawfully, and marries another, commits adultery."
The disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry."
But he said to them, "Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given.
For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."
This reading is what really turns people off from the Catholic Church. This has to be one of the most difficult teachings of the church. To sum it up Katy Christy style, once you are in the covenant of marriage, you are married forever. Does this include adultery? Yes. Does this include abuse? Yes. It is difficult to hear but not so difficult to believe once you understand what a covenant really is.
I will be taking a group of teenagers through a journey through the narrative History of the Bible this school year. Some may believe that the Old Testament and New Testament are two very different stories with two very different "God's". This is not so! This is one very beautiful story of our salvation History that guides us through one covenant after another. What will be made very clear is that these covenants will be violated repeatedly. Repeatedly is an understatement. God's people will break every commandment over and over again but they will NEVER be able to break the covenant. Never. This is what marriage is too. UNLESS, it is unlawful. "Unlawful" means that a covenant was never made in the first place. One of the 4 key elements of the FTFF (Free, Total, Faithful, Fruitful) was missing. If this is NOT the case, then you are married till death due you part. Even if your spouse grows horns, you can separate to protect yourself and the kids but she is still your wife and he is still your husband.
A very dear friend was walked out on by her husband of nearly 20 years. He simply did not love her any more. She was devastated. She was left home with one teenage boy and an 8 year old boy. After some time passed, I asked her if she was going to pursue an annulment. She said, "No, I know there was a covenant." She is going to remain faithful to him while he remarries and enjoys his new life. Her purgatory time will most certainly be cut short. She is a fine example of what living out the marital covenant really means.
My other example would be my parents. On Aug. 9th, 1971, a Monday afternoon, my parents, Dr. Richard Medary and Geraldine Fackelman made their wedding vows to each other. Neither one of them knew what their future would hold or they probably would have had 2nd thoughts;) Ok, they would have both ended up thousands of miles apart! Marriage is tough! They were great examples of that too! Not for a glimmer of a moment did I ever suspect they would divorce and move on. Their example alone told me that this was forever. Good times and bad times.
They celebrated their 40th anniversary. I'm sure they could have sat in for Frank and Marie Barone and been just as funny in their own quirky way. My kids love to just watch them talk to each other. The kids laugh and I am usually hiding my face if people are around which seems to make the kids laugh harder. They have a great sense of humor about their daily lives with each other. They genuinely care for one another. I love to watch or hear about how Dad takes care of Mom by cooking for her, slapping unhealthy food out of her hand and searches for her when he suspects she's fled for another smoke break. She's hard to catch. Mom is giving him a good work out. If either one would have escaped from the marriage years ago, they would have missed out on these experiences;)
My parents give me hope for my future with Roy. When I think about what we will be like when he's 80 and I'm still a ripe 68;) I know we will be just fine thanks to my parents example of how to live out your covenant even when the horns grow and recede....and grow...and recede...