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Bulletin Insert Sunday 4th October,2015 Pentecost 19 B: From the beginning

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert – Sunday 4th October 2015, Pentecost19

From the beginning Genesis 2:18-24, Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12, Mark 10:2-16

 

As Jesus journeys towards Jerusalem with his disciples some Pharisees attempt to trick him. By asking whether or not a man could lawfully divorce his wife, the Pharisees wanted to lead Jesus into a situation where he cannot win. At the time of Jesus there were two opinions on divorce. Some claimed that it was lawful to put away one’s wife only in the case of serious moral misdemeanor on the part of the woman; others argued that any reason was good enough for a man to send away his wife. This debate lies behind the Pharisees’ question.

Jesus cuts through their legal debates by taking his questioners back to the original plan of God taught by Moses. They reply that Moses allowed them to draw up a writ of dismissal, and they are correct. According to the Book of Deuteronomy (see Deut 24:1-4) such a writ was possible. But Jesus draws them back, to a time before all such concessions. Moses, the author of the Law, had also written that from the beginning of creation God made them male and female… and they became one body. Having cited the Book of Genesis (see Gen 1:27; 2:24), Jesus adds his own commentary: what God has united, humans must not divide.

Jesus shocks his contemporaries by insisting that men and women are equal. This is Jesus reason for prohibiting divorce. God’s original plan for women and men demanded that they share life and love equally. The hardness of hearts and the inability of even the chosen people to live according to God’s original purpose had led to a man casting off the woman he no longer found to his liking. Such a practice was abhorrent to Jesus

We do not live in the perfect world created by God. A story of sin co-exists with the grace of God. Selfish sinfulness, hard hearts and the unteachable ways of humankind have made the undivided love of a man and a woman almost an impossible dream. Christians are called to stand by those whose attempts to live this dream have been shattered. Above all, they are to see the challenge of marriage as a proclamation of the beauty and fruitfulness of God’s original design for men and women.

(Adapted from This is the Gospel of the Lord – Year B, by Francis J. Moloney, p 188-9).

 

 

Genesis 2:18-24 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” 19 So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones     and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman,     for out of Man this one was taken.”

24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Mark 10:2-16 Some Pharisees came, and to test him they 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 dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 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, let no one separate.”10 Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.