Jesus corrects longstanding Jewish acceptance of divorce and confirms those who divorce and remarry are adulterers. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Religion so he can effectively honor and defend the Sacrament of Matrimony and by seeking the Fruits of Kindness and Generosity from the Holy Spirit so he can more frequently pray for those in adulterous “marriages.”
19th Week in Ordinary time – Friday – Mt 19:3-12
The Pharisees seek to discredit Jesus on the topic of divorce; Jesus’ teaching that divorce is forbidden contradicted Moses’ long-established allowance of divorce. The Pharisees realize that Jesus’ position on divorce was the same as John the Baptist’s and, by publicizing Jesus’ forbidding of divorce, the Pharisees perhaps scheme to get King Herod to kill Jesus as he killed John the Baptist. John had condemned Herod’s adulterous and incestuous “marriage” to Herodias, for she was married to Herod’s brother and was both his sister-in-law and his niece.
Jesus humiliates the learned Pharisees by exposing their lack of understanding of Scripture by referring to Moses’ own words inspired by God in Genesis, that describes man, woman, marriage and forbids divorce (Gen 2:24). God made two sexes, male and female, and supernaturally binds man and woman together in an unbreakable bond of marriage. He responds to the Pharisees’ second question (“Why then did Moses…”) by revealing Moses allowed divorce because of the “hardness” of men’s hearts and Jesus absolutely forbids divorce and remarriage, condemning “remarriage” as adultery.
Jesus’ phrase, “except for unchastity”, is not an exception to allow divorce: Catholic understanding has always been divorce is absolutely forbidden; the Greek word for “unchastity” (porneia), can also mean incest (blood relatives cannot marry, if they do, their marriage is not valid and must be rejected). The disciples’ response that it is perhaps better not to marry, confirms Jesus strictly forbids divorce with no exceptions. Jesus releases men from the vocation of marriage who are sexually impotent, by birth or because of castration, and those men who become celibate priests for the sake of the Kingdom.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Contrary to the modern support of divorce and the desperate attempts to “redefine” marriage, be assured by Jesus, Divine Priest, as He defends the Sacrament of Matrimony and Chastity: being challenged by the perverse Pharisees who supported divorce, Jesus first rebukes them Harshly (hardness of heart, a term which denotes rebellious and serious sin) confirming His unequivocal condemnation of divorce; Jesus explicitly confirms marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman; Jesus confirms those who divorce and “remarry” are guilty of the mortal sin of adultery.
Honor and defend the Sacrament of Matrimony
Realize: Today, there is broad rebellion against God’s unchanging truth that marriage is the permanent, exclusive union of a man and a woman; there are many mortally sinful mutations of marriage, including “unions” which reject marriage, “open” marriage, same-sex “marriage”, polygamous “marriage”, etc.; even among married Catholics, many engage in the grave sin of the use of Contraception.
Believe: Offenses Against the Dignity of Marriage (CCC 2387-2391, 2400); elsewhere the Church categorically rejects same-sex “unions” and confirms it can not bless homosexual “unions”, because the Church cannot bless sin.
Pray: Jesus, Divine Bridegroom, help me build the Virtue of Religion (a part of Justice) so I always gratefully accept, honor, and defend the fullness of truth about Your great gift of the Sacrament of Matrimony.
Pray for those in adulterous “marriages”
Realize: Recently, some in the Church have claimed that civilly divorced Catholics, who have not received an annulment, may “remarry” and not be in an objective state of adultery; this is in direct opposition to Christ’s clear teaching and the perennial teaching of the Church.
Believe: Reflect upon Divorce and Adultery (CCC 1640, 1643-1651, 1664, 2380-2386, 2400).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruits of Kindness and Generosity so I have deep sorrow, empathy, and love for those living in adulterous marriages and I regularly pray You will guide them (and me) to Your Holy Will.