Readings for Friday August 14, 2009

Memorial of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, priest and martyr

First Reading: Joshua 24:1-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 136
Gospel: Matthew 19:3-12

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.” They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” His disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” He answered, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.” (Matt. 19:3-12)

In the US the divorce rate is around 50%, which means that one out of every two marriages will end in divorce. I often wonder among those 50% that are still married, how many of those marriages are thriving? It is really kind sad to think about how weak most marriages are, either the couple splits apart or they remain unhappy in a marriage for the rest of their life. As Jesus shows us today, marriage is such an important thing and that in the beginning God had intended a great purpose for marriage. Unfortunately, a beautiful thing that God has created has become tainted and abused by all of us. It doesn't have to be this way though, we can still ask God to open our hearts to His true purpose for marriage and how we are called to live out this vocation.

Today let us pray for all marriages in our world and for all those preparing for marriage. Let us also pray for all of our priests who have "renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven."

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord we pray for marriages everywhere and for all those preparing for marriage. Lord thank you for this beautiful gift, and help us to see your true purpose for this Sacrament. Lord, we also pray for all of our priests, may you strengthen them in their ministry and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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