Hardness of Heart

Mark 10: 1-12
Sir 6: 5-17 / Ps 119

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.’ So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
(Mk.10:8-9)

Thorns of divorce and adultery,
Aim to destroy the family;
God gave marriage for man and wife,
Nothing must break this bond for life.

Jesus set out and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again; and again, as his custom was, he taught them. And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and dismiss her.” But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10: 1-12)

Reflection

Jesus always referred to Holy Scriptures whenever He answered the questions of His detractors. This was to prove to the Jews that He did not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it. He said Moses allowed a man to write a writ of divorce for his wife not to give the man license to marry again, but only to make public their legal separation for the benefit of the estranged wife. Otherwise, the husband’s “hardness of heart” would make the life of the wife miserable in her husband’s household. Unfortunately, in man’s desire to be in control of his life, and unwilling to surrender his cherished freedom of choice, divorce was invented (by man) as an escape hatch.

Husbands should take note that a softer heart and a gentler voice always lead to an early resolution whenever and whatever kinds of disagreements arise.

At the dining table one evening, many years ago, our second son related how he was shocked when he heard his classmate’s father shouting at his wife. Even more surprising to him was the nonchalance of his friend about the situation. It seemed as if his classmate’s dad just had another bad day at the office. It gave an occasion for a short homily to my children about respect as the foundation of love, and tenderness as the secret ingredient to a lasting, and more intimate relationship. As Jesus said, it is often our “hardness of heart” that affects our loving relationship with our wife. We should be more considerate to our spouses, “realizing that the woman is of a more delicate nature” (1Pet.3:7). After 40 years of marriage, I have realized that our love for each other is not of our own making, but is a gift from God. I was wrong to think that we formed our marriage to be what it is. As it turned out, it was our marriage that formed me. Marriage must truly be divine in nature, because it seems to grow stronger through the years. We constantly thank God, our Father for His gift of love.

Grant us, Lord God with a tender heart to be more compassionate, understanding, patient and forgiving with each other, so that Your gift of marriage may manifest fully Your divine love. Amen.

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