The Gospel Today
Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
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.”
Reflection (Sem. Carmelo V. Pocdol)
My role during wedding ceremonies of my friends and colleagues is either a lector or a commentator. It has been a pleasure of mine, not just to witness their union in the Church but also in serving them during the most important day of their married life. I always look forward to the exchange of vows by the couple before the Lord and the assembly. To me, it is very dramatic and meaningful as it is the moment of binding each other’s love and confidence in front of God who called the husband and wife in such sacred union as they start to form a family, a domestic Church, and as they express their profound promises and commitment to each other.
What is also worth witnessing during wedding ceremonies is the response of the couple to the married vocation; that despite the challenges of divorce and other issues that loom in married life, both husband and wife still bravely and willingly proclaim their commitment. It made me develop a profound appreciation and gratitude to the one who calls us to a certain vocation, may it be married life, single- blessedness or in priesthood. We are all bound and ought to respond to God’s call and invitation.
Like in our Gospel for today, Jesus speaks about the challenges of married life and how He clearly answered the question on divorce. Jesus also speaks about those who are not called to married life for the sake of the Kingdom of God; those who are called to the ordained life. It is important to reflect and pray that whatever vocation we are responding to, it is always the mercy of God that is the center of our vocation story.
It was clear to me when I decided to respond to the invitation of Jesus to this vocation of entering the seminary, that I was not evading the possibility of getting married but rather finding the will of God in my life and considering the greater purpose of my life that would best serve the people of God.