Sunday Relfection (OT27): Divorce

A nasty gospel today, and one that has caused more harm than good, at least as implementedf by clergy and "the faithful" in the contemporary world:
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery."

There but the grace of God, go I, might say many of us who are still married.

The modern world puts enormous pressures on its citizens. We must not merely survice, we must excel, dominating those around us. We must not only have our daily bread, we must piled possession upon possession until we have nowhere to store it all. And we must not hope only for life's little pleasures, but we must expect every day to be a holiday, every relationshop to be consistently and constantly joyful, fulfilling and satisfying.

And worst of all, we must constantly crave and reach for our individual potential, even at the expense of children, family, community and self.

As human beings, we are notoriously unhappy creatures. We are too cold or too hot, too poor or too bored. It is impossible to make us happy. We are mistaken if we expect others to provide the happiness that is not theirs to give and not in the nature of the world to provide. At least some of the unhappiness in marriage can be laid at the feet of our unrealistic expectation that happiness will comes without struggle and without the need for inner conversion.

Thne gospel today reminds us that God's way is not that of easy dispensing with burdensome relationships. It is not God's way to causally lay aside another human being when we are a little unhappy or a little bored or a little irritated. Marriage, as Jesus understands the Creator's will, is about to people growing together, changing together, striving with (both in the sense of working together and of working against)each other.

Not all marriages are entered into wisely. Individuals and their communities must help couples make wise choices, and then to support them in the inevitable struggles to come. But to the degree that we are seduced by our society's siren call to seek ever greater thrills and ever greater highs of "love," we are foolish and adulterous -- making the human body an object for our selfish pleasure and another human being into a means of our personal advancement.

To this, Jesus firmly says, "No."
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