In today’s readings, marriage and divorce are the topics of discussion. In the Old Testament reading, the relationship between God and Judah is depicted as a marriage relationship with God as husband and the nation of Judah as wife. Yet Judah is an unfaithful wife. Despite this unfaithfulness, God will not “divorce” the nation of Judah, but will make an everlasting covenant with them (Ezekiel 16.60).
The Gospel reading ties in to this somewhat. Just as God refuses to abandon his marriage covenant with Judah, Jesus describes marriage as insoluble. This is a very difficult text to handle for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that there was a time in Judeo-Christian tradition when divorce was acceptable under certain circumstances (see Deut. 24.1-4). Jesus actually refers to this passage from Deuteronomy in the Gospel reading today, but still explains that marriage is insoluble based on the tradition of Genesis 1-2.
I don’t really think there is space to deal with the Gospel reading here without oversimplifying or even risking being insensitive, so what I’ve decided to do is link to a number of resources. First, for those who are married, I would point out that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has put together an excellent website devoted to marriage. It is multifaceted dealing with preparation, growth, and more. It is called For Your Marriage.
Second, I would point to a website for those who are separated or divorced. It is linked to on the website for Christian Formation in the Diocese of Baton Rouge. Just so you know that I’m giving you something the Diocese has checked out, I’ll link you to the site for the Diocese of Baton Rouge and you can follow the link from there. There you can click on the link that says “Beginning Experience.” Looks like a great site and they have opportunities to attend their programs in our area.
Finally, if anyone is just trying to get a better grip on the sacrament of marriage and how it is understood in the church, there are a number of very good Catholic Updates on the topic. You can find them HERE, and they are entitled: “10 Questions about Annulment,” “10 Tips for Married Couples,” “Bringing Your Marriage into the Church,” “Cohabitation before Marrige,” “Interchurch Marriages,” “Preparing for Marriage,” and “Sacrament of Marriage.”