Divorce 10-7-2018

I. Our Gospel speaks very bluntly about Divorce (Easy to skip over it) – I am going to try to share with you a few points of reflection that have helped me understand the scripture better.
A. It is very important to hear these words of Jesus in their historical context and not as applied directly to anyone’s present day situation. These words do not apply to all people who have ever had a marriage fail –it was the Pharisees that raised the issue of divorce in order to trick Jesus – to get him in trouble.
1. You see many of the people were already married when they became followers of Jesus. In some cases a husband or a wife became a follower of Jesus while their spouse did not. Somewhat misguided some of the followers of Jesus felt compelled to get away from their non-Christian partner – so they divorced them. This became a scandal in the Church, people divorcing otherwise devoted partners over religion and feeling righteous about it. Now, apply the words of Jesus to the situation and you get something different from what we thought we were hearing. I hear it now as a challenge to misguided piety – a self-righteous attitude – Jesus says is has to STOP!
II. There will always be a gap between the ideals of following Christ and our everyday human reality. There is Tension!
A. What do we do about it?
1. Do we throw out the ideal that the marriage commitment is forever especially when it gets too hard – too difficult? I think Jesus’s answer would be NO.
2. On the other hand, do we treat people who get divorced like dirt, like second class citizens? I think the answer of Jesus would again be NO.
We try our best each day, as Pope Francis says, to offer compassion, support, and create an environment where all people feel like they belong, even when we do not get to the ideal.

I want to thank you. Those of you that have struggled and battled to stay married, to keep the different commitments you have made. I look at all you go through. I hear your stories. You inspire me to keep striving towards the ideal in the midst of my human weakness.
I want to apologize to any of you that have gone through a divorce as a couple or as a family, if our Church or any Church person has treated you rude or has slammed the door in your face.
For those of you who have experienced a divorce, and have kept your commitment to Christ and the Church, I sincerely thank you. You have not given up on God and the Church, even if you felt that the Church & God may have given up on you.
I close:
Hear this, the door is open, you are welcome here. I extend to you a personal invitation and ask you to pass this invitation on to others. Let’s sit down and talk. It’s time to heal. We sing about it – Our God is a God of Second Chances. We must together try to make that message come alive in this place in this time.

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