The Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday Cycle B of the 27th Week of Ordinary Time is Mark 10:2-16.

The Pharisees, plotting 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. Christ humiliates the suppposedly learned Pharisees by referring to Moses’ own words inspired by God in Genesis: God made two sexes, male and female, and supernaturally binds man and woman together in an unbreakable bond of marriage. He reveals that Moses allowed divorce because of the “hardness” of hearts and that God absolutely forbids divorce, saying “…therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Later, in private, the disciples approach Christ because they are troubled that Christ strictly forbids divorce with no exceptions (Matt 1:10). Christ does not equivocate, making it clear that not only is divorce forbidden but that men and women who divorce and remarry commit adultery, a mortal sin described in the 6th Commandment of the 10 Commandments.

Having confirmed God’s plan for marriage and condemned divorce, Christ blesses the fruit of marriage (children) and demonstrates the importance of spiritual fatherhood. Following a Jewish practice for children to be blessed by a rabbi and by fathers (Gen 27:30; 48:14-16), many brought children to Jesus. Driven by good (the master is tired, the crowds are too large, sick people need help) or bad (children are below the Master) intentions, the disciples rebuke the parents and try to stop them. Angered, Christ rebukes the disciples, revealing that He sees in children the spiritual qualities of those in Heaven (e.g. joy, poverty, simplicity, humility, obedience, dependency, vulnerability, etc.). Christ tenderly takes them in His arms and blesses them.  

Awed by Jesus ChristSon 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. Son of Man, Christ, despite His immense stature and power, has a personality that welcomes parents to present their infants for His blessing. Divine Priest, Christ establishes the foundation for infant baptism and confirms the priestly action of the laying on of hands in blessings.  

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. Review the Church’s teaching on the Sacrament of Matrimony (CCC 1601-1666) and pray that Christ strengthen you and all people to fully accept His truth about marriage.  

3) Conditioned by a 1st century Jewish culture that accepted divorce, the disciples were stunned when Christ confirms that those who divorce and remarry commit adultery. Today, adultery is rampant: 40% of marriages are remarriages; 1/3 of marriages experience infidelity. Review the Catechism’s teaching on the 6th Commandment (Thou Shall not Commit Adultery – CCC 2331-2400) and pray for Christ to help you and all people to pursue chastity.