First Reading: Ezekiel 16:1-15, 60, 63 or 16:59-63
Responsorial Psalm: Isaiah 12:2-3
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.” (Mt. 19:3-12)
In today's gospel, Jesus is trying to share with the Pharisees the beauty of marriage. He is telling them how it is the one flesh union between husband and wife that was planned out by God from the beginning. Unfortunately, His words were falling on deaf ears; because the Pharisees were not thinking about how they can preserve marriage, but rather how can they get out of it if it no longer becomes what they want. This mindset of being able to "jump ship" whenever you want is still very prevalent today. So many people fail to recognize the beauty of marriage. They fail to see it as the Sacrament that it is, and as something that should be protected and fought for.
The Catholic Church is one of many who are fighting for marriage, and to preserve it as it was meant to be from the beginning. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has come out with some wonderful resources for those who wish to learn more about marriage, as well as strengthen their marriage. Below is a video clip of an ad done by the USCCB, it is called "What have you done for your marriage today?"
I would like to encourage each of you to check out http://foryourmarriage.org/ and http://www.usccb.org/marriageuniqueforareason/ as two great marriage initiatives brought to us by the USCCB.
Marriage is a sacred institution, one that is under attack everyday in our country and around the world. It is something which must be preserved as God meant it to, and something that we must each fight for however we are called.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for the many blessings in our life, help us to be good stewards of all that you have given to us. Lord, we pray for marriages around the world, that couples can see your perfect design which you planned from the beginning. We pray for all those marriages that are struggling, that they can forgive and keep you at the center. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.