Categories: Pastor's Desk

Today’s Gospel passage is one that has caused much debate, especially in recent years. As countries throughout the world continue to acknowledge same-sex unions, many question why the Church still holds to the teaching that Marriage is between a man and a woman. As we see celebrities divorcing each other regularly, we wonder why the Church continues to teach about the permanence of Marriage. And what does Jesus even mean when he says that we must accept the Kingdom of God like children?

This last question is probably the easiest to answer, and it sets the stage for answering the other questions. Think for just a moment about the relationship between a parent and a child. How does the child, who does not have a lot of worldly knowledge, relate to the parent? The relationship is one of trust. The child trusts that the parent is going to keep them safe, and isn’t going to allow the child to do anything that will cause them harm. We are called to have that same trust in God: to trust that he knows what is best for us, even though we might not completely understand it.

In the case of the questions pertaining to Marriage, the answer itself is found throughout Sacred Scripture. The Bible begins with God creating human beings in his image and likeness (both male and female), and it ends with the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, in which the Marriage between Christ and his bride, the Church, is celebrated. We hear in our first reading how man and woman were made to complement each other, and that together, they express the fullness of the Divine Nature: so much so that the union of husband and wife becomes generative and creates new life. It is in this live-giving union that we see a Sacrament, or a sign of God’s presence. It is in this Sacrament that we see an image of the love that God has for his bride, the Church. When a man and woman enter a Sacramental union, they undertake serious obligations, above and beyond those present in a civil union. And this is why permanence is such a key aspect of Sacramental Marriage.

But what about Jesus’ words on Divorce? Is a person subject to condemnation if they have left an abusive or unhealthy marriage? I don’t believe that is Jesus’ intention here. Jesus is countering a belief held by the Pharisees, which stated that divorce was allowable for any cause, even for something as trivial as burning dinner one night. This is why Jesus speaks of their hardness of heart. An unhealthy or harmful relationship is different, and it is the reason that the Church has established the Annulment process. This process can provide immense healing, especially to those who are seeking to remarry. If you have gone through a divorce, and would like more information about the annulment process, we encourage you to contact the Parish Office for more information.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Steven Huber, CSB