For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
Our Gospel this weekend comes in two sections. In the first half of this Gospel Jesus talks about the difficult issue of divorce. The occasion for Jesus’ teaching was a question by the Pharisees: “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” Jesus responded to their question by asking them what Moses had taught. They replied correctly that Moses had permitted divorce, but Jesus told them that it was “Because of the hardness of your hearts” that Moses did this. Jesus then went on to remind them that when God has joined two people together this union is blessed and sanctified by God and “what God has joined together no human being must separate.” In the second half of this Gospel, we are told that people were bringing their children to Jesus to have him touch them. When his disciples rebuked them, Jesus told them: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
The theme from the first half of the Gospel is echoed in our first reading today which tells the story of the creation of man and woman. The importance of pets notwithstanding, this story reminds us that the “suitable partner” for a human being is another human being.
In both the Gospel and the first reading it is important to point out what is not being said. Jesus did not say that it was okay to criticize or judge those who go through the painful experience of divorce. Jesus did not say that people should stay in abusive relationships. Rather, he spoke about the dignity, goodness and blessedness of the union of those whom God has joined together.
Our second reading this weekend is taken from the Letter to the Hebrews. This letter was probably written somewhere around 90 A.D., which is relatively late compared to most of the other Epistles in the New Testament. It was written to strengthen people’s faith, but also to increase their knowledge and love of Jesus. In the section we read this weekend we are reminded that: “For it is fitting that He, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Has a friend or someone in your family gone through a divorce? How did you respond?
- What does it mean to be “childlike” in our relationship with God?
- If someone asked you why Jesus had to suffer and die, how would you respond?