“Is it lawful for a man to…then why did Moses command that…it’s better not to marry”
Here we go again with the Pharisees, trying to manipulate, trip up or trap Jesus with the letter of the law. Interesting how quick we can see it in these stories of scripture! And yet, do these words not sound like they come right out of today’s conversations? A search for certitude, right/wrong; black/white, blame and trap, we/they… Jesus points to their hardness of hearts and how that hardness prevents the building of the Kingdom of God – the embracing of a vision of love – ultimately, living together the Spirit of the law!
Has this hardness of heart become the breeding ground for festering hate? In our first reading, Joshua reminds the Tribes of Israel of God’s continued presence and love in their lives – calling them to a change of heart. In the Gospel, Jesus calls the Pharisees to a change of heart and points out that not everyone can meet the challenge. Can we hear Jesus call us to a change of heart – is our relationship with Him strong enough and personal enough to hear the challenge? Or are we, like the disciples, content to throw in the towel and simply say ‘it’s better not to marry!’
In Baptism, we became a ‘new creation, clothed in Christ’ what does that mean for our hearts and our world? For the sake of the kingdom, can we accept what we ought to accept?
Faith Offman is the Associate Director of Ministry at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center in Detroit, Michigan.