Day Twenty-five: Sunday, March 11

Mark 10:1-16

He arose from there and came into the borders of Judea and beyond the Jordan. Multitudes came together to him again. As he usually did, he was again teaching them.Pharisees came to him testing him, and asked him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

He answered, “What did Moses command you?”

They said, “Moses allowed a certificate of divorce to be written, and to divorce her.”

But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart, he wrote you this commandment.But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will join to his wife,and the two will become one flesh, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh.What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

In the house, his disciples asked him again about the same matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery against her.If a woman herself divorces her husband, and marries another, she commits adultery.”

They were bringing to him little children, that he should touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who were bringing them. But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said to them, “Allow the little children to come to me! Don’t forbid them, for God’s Kingdom belongs to such as these.Most certainly I tell you, whoever will not receive God’s Kingdom like a little child, he will in no way enter into it.” He took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

While marriage is not the standard for all people, the marriage commitment is also used in Scripture as a metaphor for the divine human relationship. In some Christian traditions marriage is a sacrament…so the answer to the Pharisees’ question was not what was permissible under the law, but what was now possible in this unfolding kingdom of peace, love, and justice. Jesus was declaring the beginning of a new era in which relationships could work if each party approached the other with mutual respect and concern. It was now possible to go beyond what was just permissible to what was kingdom enhanced. Unfortunately, then and now, not everyone chooses to live out the ethics of God’s kingdom. Abuse and neglect are substituted for respect and concerned…in a broken world, divorce is sometimes necessary.
(David B. Howell, Feasting on God’s Word, Year B, Volume 4, p. 144, The Pastoral Perspective)

Day Twenty-six: Monday, March 12
Day Twenty four: Saturday, March 10