Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 19th Week in Ordinary time – Friday – Matthew 19:3-12
The Pharisees, as part of their plot to kill Christ, seek to discredit Him on the topic of divorce; Christ’s teaching that divorce is forbidden contradicted Moses’ long-established allowance of divorce. The Pharisees realize that Christ’s position on divorce was the same as John the Baptist’s; by publicizing Jesus’s forbidding of divorce, the divorced Herod may do the Pharisee’s dirty work and kill Christ as he killed John the Baptist.
Christ humiliates the learned Pharisees by exposing their lack of understanding of Scripture by referring to Moses’ own words inspired by God in Genesis (it was held that Moses was inspired to write Genesis) that describes man, woman and marriage and forbids divorce (Gen 2:24); God made two sexes, male and female, and supernaturally binds man and woman together in an unbreakable bond of marriage. He responds to the Pharisees’ second question (“Why then did Moses…”) by revealing Moses allowed divorce because of the “hardness” of hearts and that He absolutely forbids divorce and remarriage, condemning remarriage as adultery.
Christ’s “except for unchastity” is not an exception; Catholic understanding has always been that divorce is absolutely forbidden; the Greek word for “unchastity” (porneia) can also mean incest (blood relatives can not marry, if if they do, they must divorce). The disciples’ response that it is perhaps better not to marry confirms that Christ strictly forbids divorce with no exceptions. Christ releases men from the vocation of marriage who are sexually impotent (by birth or because of castration) and those men who become celibate priests for the sake of the Kingdom.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, with the Father from the beginning, Christ knows Moses’ rationale for the temporary allowance of divorce; on His own authority, Christ forbids divorce, overturning centuries of flawed Jewish practice. Divine King, Christ forcefully rebukes those who attack, decisively destroying their feeble attempts at traps and arguments. Divine Priest, Christ lays the foundation for the celibate male priesthood.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Men, seeking to change the world, attempt to speak with authority, citing public opinion, logic, the latest science, emotion or historical precedent; all of these sources of authority come from imperfect humans. Marvel at the boldness of Christ, the only man in history, whose authority is because He is God; Christ is the unalterable Divine Truth.
2) God’s unchanging truth that marriage is the permanent, exclusive union of a man and a woman was rebelled against during the Incarnation and is rebelled against today ( e.g. non-married “partners”, divorce, homosexual “marriage”, polygamous “marriages”, etc). Only the Catholic Church fully upholds Christ’s unchangeable truth about marriage; Catholic men must affirm Christ’s truth of marriage. Pray that Christ strengthen you to fully accept His truth about marriage and pray for all to come to accept God’s teaching.
3) Christ’s affirms the mysterious and astounding truth that sexual union in marriage supernaturally bonds men and women together (“the two become one”). Pray, giving thanks for God’s blessing of sexual union in marriage and that He strengthen you to never abuse His gift of sex.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ
Virtue of the Day – Faith
Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries