Matthew 19:3-12 Unconditional Love
I will never forget one of my favorite Abbott and Costello lines, “Marry an ugly woman. Why? Because if she leaves you, you won’t care!” I don’t watch too many Abbott and Costello movies any longer.
Why is it so hard to love? Because true love requires authentic commitment and betrayal lurks in all directions. In some ways it is unfortunate that wedding vows are taken at the best of times – the “good times”, rather than the worst of times – the “bad times”. I wonder how many would take them. I guess only the authentic relationships.
Israel is always considered and looked upon as the Lord’s bride. She was nothing before the Lord called her out of her misery and bathed her in beauty, splendor and majesty. And yet, as he did that, she became captivated by her own beauty, and used her renown to make herself a harlot, and she lavished her harlotry on every passer-by, whose own she became. (Ezekiel 16:60)
“God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior” (Isaiah 12:2). Only He can guide me, encourage me and give me strength to defeat my fears, temptations, and sins. God remains committed to what he has created. He loves me more than I love myself. He loves me more than what I am. He loves me because he has made an everlasting covenant with me. This bond can never be broken because the Lord is true to his word. From generation to generation, the Lord remains steadfast in his love. He is my rock. He is my love. He is my savior!
For this reason alone, marriage is a bond that can never be broken. The man that makes this bond imitates the Lord in every way: he provides and protects; he leads and guides; he loves and forgives; he is my hero! No wonder why a Christian song called “Lead Me” is making its way to the top of the charts! We all look for that man!
“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” We must remember that the United States was not among the first nations to institute “no-fault” divorce. It was Israel! Imagine for a moment, 2000 years ago, when males dominated the world, and this question was posed to the Lord. His answer, back then, was much more shocking to the ears than it is today! “What God has joined together, man must not separate.” Then why were they permitted? “Because of the hardness of your hearts.” The Law of Love is written on a heart of flesh and not on a slab of stone. Love goes beyond what is reasonable, justifiable or even imaginable. No wonder why God has stuck with us for so long! How many times should he have abandoned us, destroyed us or even condemned us.
Not only does the Lord love us, he calls us. He calls some men to the priesthood - those who renounce marriage “for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Today’s readings are for those who are married or in the priesthood. These words are hard to accept by all. The Lord wishes to pry and “pray” open our hearts to unconditional love, but also to open our ears to hear. He leads by example.
“Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."