Gospel Reflection Friday 19th Week Ordinary Time (18 August) – The Pharisees test Jesus
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (19: 3-12) in which the Pharisees test Jesus saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any pretext whatever?” Fr Paul says, the first group that Jesus speaks to in this Gospel is the Pharisees, who would have been surprised, if not shocked, at Jesus sweeping response to their questions about the grounds for a divorce. Rather than argue about legalisms, Jesus affirms the divine foundation of human marriage. The second group are the disciples, and they too were shocked and received little comfort from Jesus’ further statement about celibacy. Fr Paul says today the Gospel reminds us of a couple of things and would do well in our lives to reflect on them. The ideal of marriage and celibacy is that they are vocations in which God is intimately involved. Also, we must always be aware that when we or family and friends cannot live out that ideal and divorce or the breaking of the vow of celibacy occurs then we need to care for them and love them just as Jesus would.