16 Aug 2019
Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem; then he called the elders, leaders, judges and scribes of Israel, and they presented themselves before God. Then Joshua said to all the people:
‘The Lord, the God of Israel says this, “In ancient days your ancestors lived beyond the River – such was Terah the father of Abraham and of Nahor – and they served other gods. Then I brought your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan. I increased his descendants and gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountain country of Seir as his possession. Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt. Then I sent Moses and Aaron and plagued Egypt with the wonders that I worked there. So I brought you out of it. I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and you came to the Sea; the Egyptians pursued your ancestors with chariots and horsemen as far as the Sea of Reeds. There they called to the Lord, and he spread a thick fog between you and the Egyptians, and made the sea go back on them and cover them. You saw with your own eyes the things I did in Egypt. Then for a long time you lived in the wilderness, until I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived beyond the Jordan; they made war on you and I gave them into your hands; you took possession of their country because I destroyed them before you. Next, Balak son of Zippor the king of Moab arose to make war on Israel, and sent for Balaam son of Beor to come and curse you. But I would not listen to Balaam; instead, he had to bless you, and I saved you from his hand.
‘“When you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, those who held Jericho fought against you, as did the Amorites and Perizzites, the Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I put them all into your power. I sent out hornets in front of you, which drove the two Amorite kings before you; this was not the work of your sword or your bow. I gave you a land where you never toiled, you live in towns you never built; you eat now from vineyards and olive-groves you never planted.”’
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and to test him they said, ‘Is it against the Law for a man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that the creator from the beginning made them male and female and that he said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body? They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’
They said to him, ‘Then why did Moses command that a writ of dismissal should be given in cases of divorce?’ ‘It was because you were so unteachable’ he said ‘that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not like this from the beginning. Now I say this to you: the man who divorces his wife – I am not speaking of fornication – and marries another, is guilty of adultery.’
The disciples said to him, ‘If that is how things are between husband and wife, it is not advisable to marry.’ But he replied, ‘It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted. There are eunuchs born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs made so by men and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’
What God has united, man must not divide
I remember a conversation once with a colleague about her upcoming marriage. She had met her husband-to-be and after a short courtship, had decided to take the ‘big step’. Our chat soon turned to how we would know if our spouses were ‘the one’ for us. With a shrug, she told me, “Well, if it doesn’t work out, we can just break”.
I remember being surprised by her reply.
I come from a broken family, and never really had my very own ‘complete family’ to learn from. However, I was blessed to have read a lot growing up, and having started attending the Catholic Church from about the age of about 19, had many Catholic couples to model after.
One of the things I realised was that relationships evolve. An old couple (I can’t remember specifically who!) advised me that love goes through many phases. The first is one of romantic love, when the couple goes through the initial stages of courtship and intense feelings of love. This deepens into marriage and will continue to evolve with time, when the children come, when they grow, when they leave the home, when they get married and have children.
I realised that the romantic novels and movies place unrealistic ideals and expectations in our minds. In one recent conversation, a young lady confessed that she was no longer feeling quite so passionate about her partner. “I love him deeply”, she said, “but it’s not so intense anymore”. She felt troubled by that.
Our Lord instructs us that our love for each other needs to be a committed kind of love. We need to make a decision to continue to love each other, even after the initial pangs of intense, romantic love wears off. He teaches us to stand by each other regardless of the challenges and chides us never to be tempted to ‘break’ our relationships in the face of difficulty. Truly, we are never meant to break up what God has united.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)
Prayer: We pray that we will have the courage and tenacity to grow in our marriages. We ask for Your blessings and fortitude to grow in love everyday.
Thanksgiving: Thank You for showing the full extent of what a true loving relationship is. We are grateful for this important lesson for us, Lord.