Tenderness of Heart

Mark 10: 1-12
Jas 5: 9-12/ Ps 103: 1-4, 8-9,11-12

“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.”
(Mark 10:8-9)

If you want to earn your children’s respect,
Simply be kind and gentle to your wife,
When you show your love for her is perfect;
Respect and harmony are yours for life.

Some Pharisees came up to Jesus to test Him, and asked Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife. ‘What did Moses command you?’, Jesus asked. And they said, ‘Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.’ But Jesus told them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh; consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Mark 10:2-9)


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. Husbands, take note: As our Lord points out here, it is often our “hardness of heart” that causes our loving relationship with our wife to fall apart. St. Peter wisely advised that husbands should be more considerate to their wives, “realizing that the woman is of a more delicate nature” (1Pet.3:7). 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, our son related how he was almost traumatized when he heard the parents of his friend shouting at each other. Even more surprising for him was that the situation made him more uneasy than his friend was. It seemed as if his friend’s dad just had another bad day at the office. Our daughter said she could not recall that we ever quarreled, much less engage in a shouting match. 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.

St. Paul’s advice in his letter to the Colossians says it all: “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” (Col.3:18-21) Our children are certainly encouraged and grow with a healthy sense of self-respect when they see how much you care for their mother. Definitely, it is also the best way to earn their love and respect.

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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