27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” This affirmation of the intent and sanctity of marriage, first set forth in the Book of Genesis and then repeated by Jesus in the Gospel, may appear to be a beautiful but impossible ideal. But Jesus was not a proponent of the impossible. Rather, his teachings put before us “a vision of what God’s people can be when they choose, by God’s grace, to live in God’s kingdom”
Too often, the world in which Jesus bids us live seems so impractical that we find ourselves on a rough stretch of road looking for an exit. We have constructed a series of off-ramps to aid our escape. One of the most traveled exits is the one called “Times have changed.” According to this way of reasoning, rules, values and principles that were once feasible may no longer work or apply. Other off-ramps suggest that the Gospel challenges must be more symbolic than real. Therefore, we say they are impossible and no longer binding. But the road Jesus traveled had no off-ramps or hasty exits. When the challenges of being an authentic disciple seem overwhelming, we might call to mind Jesus’ promise to be our faithful and ever-present yokemate, ever bearing, ever sharing whatever struggles we face as we travel his way and find our home in his world. He faced difficulties and challenges and did not skirt the issues.
While upholding the sanctity of marriage, believers are also to be sensitive and sympathetic to the reality of divorce and to the devastating consequences for all involved. Like Jesus, we are to be people who listen, pray, console and befriend the broken, the lonely and the alienated. It is not ours to judge or take sides or cast blame. We are simply companions on the journey, offering support, encouragement and hope.