Reflection for Friday, August 18, 2006: 19th week in Ordinary Time.

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, ||"Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?"|The trap these Pharisees set for Jesus is to force him into choosing sides in this difficult question about divorce. Should divorce be easy? "For any cause whatever?" Because I prefer blondes now? Because we just got bored with each other? Because I have met someone I have fallen in love with? Because Moses allowed us to divorce?|Jesus takes the bait and is clear. Marriage is forever, except where it is clearly unlawful.|The disciples respond in fear and say, if that is the case, it is better not to marry. Jesus rejects that conclusion. Marriage is wonderful. To be able to remain celibate is a gift from God and only those who are called to it can do it.|The grace of this gospel is to hear the call to fidelity in it. Obviously, marriages often prove to have been unwise, at times nothing close to "sacramental." Sometimes, infidelity or abuse, carelessness or selfishness, make the union so damaged that it requires heroic love to save it, if it can be saved. The same can be said about celibate commitments.|Jesus himself is our guide. Without dying-to-self love, we will lose our very selves. This kind of love enters a room with no other doors, with no options for leaving, even in the most difficult times. This kind of love doesn't ever let the most difficult times get too difficult, because it draws us into imitating Jesus' love for us. This love thinks of the needs of the other first, it keeps healing wounds, and seeks reconciliation.|Lord, we pray for all married and celibate persons. We thank you for the gifts of fidelity that you have given to so many. Please give generosity and love, healing and peace, wherever it is needed. And give your special blessings to those who have suffered all the pains of divorce or the struggles of celibacy. Let them know your love and tender mercy as they seek new ways of following you, in faith and trust.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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