I think the best way to reflect on the readings and gospel for today is to contrast the words separation and union. This was the dynamics of God in his very act of creating the world. We find it in the book of Genesis when God separated the light from darkness to form day and night. He separated the water above and water below to form the sky. And as the first reading says of Adam. “God took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh….and built it up into woman.” Gen.2:21-22) So God separated the ribs of Adam so that he would have someone to be with because God realized that it is not good for the man to be alone. “And this is the reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh” (Gen.2:24).
In the Old Testament marriage is a way of uniting two families. At that time, marriage was a private or public agreement of the two families; this agreement was accompanied by the payment of a dowry by the bridegroom to the bride's family. This is the signal that man and woman would be separated from their own families to form a new family. In those ancient times, when the couple found that their union is not working anymore, the law allowed them to write a dismissal of marriage or divorce.
However, Jesus in our gospel today teaches the people of his time that it is not right to separate what God has joined. Jesus again used Gen. 2:24. We realize that in our own time the issue of divorce is a painful reality much like it was in the early Christian community. I think what Jesus' concern in the issue is not about the divorce or adultery itself but a sin against fidelity.
As a sacrament, marriage is an image of God's covenantal love for us. He remains faithful to His love for us even when we are not faithful. Remember the story of Hosea, whose adulterous wife's was Gomer? Hosea’s love for Gomer was constant and this mirrors the faithful love of God for us. Jesus showed us his faithfulness to his friendship with us; in his healing ministry, touching, even crying with others and dying for all. This love is permanent and images the perpetual union with him which he gained for us through his resurrection when we were recognized as adopted children of God. This gospel passage from Mark is inviting us, especially those in married life, to be faithful spouses to each other. Yet this invitation is not only for married people but for all people, that our love for God and others should remain faithful, constant and permanent. Jesus has shown us the example.
In reality children are the ones most affected by the separation and divorce. The Lord blessed the children in the gospel and Jesus is still blessing the children of broken families and all families today. Jesus brought the powerless child in front of the crowd to use him as an example of obedience and trust. When he saw the people not allowing the children to come to him, Jesus became indignant. He told the disciples, “let the children come to me”. He placed a child in front of them, and told them, “Whoever does not accept the reign of God like a child shall not take part of it.”
Look at the child: whenever it seems so hard to accept the truth, because through their childlike trust we are able to follow and live up to the way of Jesus. The children are able to obey because they know their own powerlessness. It is the same for us Christians who profess our faith every Sunday but find it hard to live it out. The Lord is inviting us to have that childlike faith. We must separate ourselves from pride and conveniences in order to accept our own powerlessness, uniting our will to His holy will.
By doing this we are surely contributing to the kingdom of God in our hearts. And by possessing the mind and heart of God in our life, we can also be sure that we are permanently or perpetually united with Him until eternity. Like the children, we know that God knows what is best and that we continue to follow where he leads. This is affirmed by the psalms today: “Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways.” (Psalm 128) Like the children in the gospel today, let us ask for the spirit of childlike trust and curiosity as we continue searching for the truths and live them with hope and love. By living the truth we may be able to separate ourselves from pride , uniting our will with God’s designs by trust and that by trusting we may come permanently and perpetually to share in God’s merciful love.