The Pharisees approached [Jesus] and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” … Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment [allowing divorce]. 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. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mk 10:2, 5-9).
27th Sunday in OT. Cycle B-2021. 3 October 2021. Genesis 2:18-24 + Hebrews 2:9-11 + Mark 10:2-16
A few years ago Toyota was reported to have recalled a record number of cars. We did not then seem to see an end to product recalls; on the contrary the number kept rising.
A later model was no longer guaranteed to be an improved version of the earlier. To keep customers buying, manufacturers rushed to introduce new models each year, a period too short to allow quality control to correct faulty engineering and to adjust defective manufacturing.
I could read their minds, “We can always recall them if we commit mistakes.”
The quickie industry spawned many defective ideas, even dangerous ones that had claimed not a few lives. Change was no longer designed for improvement, but for the sake of changing.
In the stores, products were presented to attract the sight more than the mind. Poor consumer, he could hardly choose from myriads offered to him.
“What is your return policy?” an indecisive costumer asked the retailer, hoping he could always come back to return, or exchange a purchase, in case he changed his mind.
But the worse development coming out of this no-pressure choosing was that fickleness had spread into marital choices—decisions who and when to marry. Just like in choosing cars, some chose spouses as status symbols. Just like some who shopped for something just to satisfy wanting, some shopped for a spouse to gratify craving.
Common was internet courtship where the only time the couple physically met was when they got married. “What is the return policy? No-fault divorce!” I could always opt out of my marriage if I made the wrong choice.
“Because of the hardness of your heart,” Jesus reacted, “[Moses] wrote you this commandment [regulating divorce]. But from the beginning of creation” marriage was to bind spouses … for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer… ‘til death do us part (cf. Mk 10:5-9).
Romance was highlighted in courtship and spousal relationship. Love was the force that bonded two people through crisis; bearing a child was celebrated; and childlessness was frowned upon. A child was the adhesive that bonded couples into a unified family. They stuck it out “for the sake of the child.”
According to G.K. Chesterton, “in everything worth having, even in every pleasure, there is a point of pain… that must be survived, so that the pleasure may revive and endure.” After this point comes ‘the second wind.’
He compared the ‘second wind’ with “the joy of battle [that] comes after the first fear of death; the joy of reading Virgil [that] comes after the bore of [reading] him; the glow of the sea-bather [that] comes after the icy shock of the sea bath; and the success of marriage [that] comes after the failure of the honeymoon.”
Physical attraction drew prospective couples to each other, but that was just the beginning. In a lengthy courtship, affection had time to grow and to flourish, enabling the engaged to plan a family—all of these before marriage, all before diving into sex.
Of course, there were exceptions, there were mistakes committed, but these were just exceptions. Automotive recalls, at best, corrected faults, and reissued the vehicles duly fixed.
Need I detail how casual is mainstream relationship today? Just go watch any movie made today. Portraying or setting a trend, the man and the woman attracted to each other is always portrayed casually ending up in bed. No children out of the relationship; just between the two… ‘til bed do they part.’
Is it any wonder that many families are loose and lost today? Is it any wonder that society is fractious and chaos rampant? A family not bonded by love and children is bound to break… society bound to break with it.
It’s time to go back to basic. VSS
Picture credit: Flickr