In one of the Gospels this month, the Pharisees test Jesus about Jewish law, asking him, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” Jesus chose not to answer them immediately. Instead, He asked them what they thought. The Pharisees responded that Moses’s law, the law given to the people by God, allowed for divorce.

Jesus had an interesting reply. He told them that this law was given “because of the hardness of your hearts.” From the beginning, he said, when God made man and woman—Adam and Eve—they were meant to be joined together as inseparable, as “one flesh.” However, because of human sinfulness, the Mosaic law allows for divorce.

Jesus was not afraid to challenge the wisdom of the Pharisees, the members of the Jewish synagogue. They tried to undermine his authority by testing his knowledge of the law and what the Lord intended when Moses received it. But Jesus knew that humans are prone to error. That is why divorce was permitted.

What is particularly interesting is that in this same passage of the Gospel, people were bringing their children to Jesus, and the disciples were turning them away. But Jesus insisted that the children be allowed to come to him. Jesus, like many of us, clearly loves children, but to him, these young ones represented something more—the quality of being open to the good news of Jesus.

“The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

These children have not yet learned the harsh realities of the world. They only know love. They are innocent and kind and bring that worldview with them. In taking these children into his arms, Jesus shows the importance of faithfulness to his teaching. He says, “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” He knows that children are human, and therefore will be tempted to sin, but by embracing them, he shows his unwavering and unconditional love for those who choose to follow him.

I pray that each of us become like one of these precious children: willing and open to the Lord’s unconditional love for us. Let us be mindful that the Lord intended for all of us to be united as one church, filled with both the love and compassion that Jesus bestowed on each one of us.

  1. Kathy Rzany says:

    Thanks Father Scott. Recently when I sent something in the Partners in Prayer envelope I inclosed my intentions and and asked healing for my back. Last Friday my prayers were answered and I had a procedure that repaired three fractures . As I recover I want you to know how the prayers of many and God’s mercy made a difference. I will triple what I usually send in gratitude. A retired catholic school teacher I pray for you and the children at Mercy Home.

    Reply
    • Fr. Scott says:

      Thank you Kathy! I am very glad to hear that you are on the mend. I, and the rest of your Mercy Home friends, will continue to pray for your complete recovery. God bless you!

      Reply

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