Leave, Weave, Cleave – Friday, 7th Week in ordinary time – Mk 10:1-12

Leave, Weave, Cleave – Friday, 7th Week in ordinary time – Mk 10:1-12

Jesus has left Galilee in the north and has arrived in Judea in the south. We are told that crowds followed him and he taught them, “As was his custom.” The mission of Jesus is not marked by a healing ministry but primarily by a teaching ministry. It is through his teaching that he gives us the message of salvation; ironically how far have we swung from this truth.

The teaching that He gives in today’s Gospel was set in the context of a trap that the Pharisees laid for Him. The issue of divorce was one that had sharply divided the Jewish people since Deuteronomy 24:1-4 takes the institution of divorce for granted; it concerns itself only the procedure to be followed when the husband has decided to divorce. According to Jewish law only the husband could institute divorce proceedings though in Roman law even women could, which may have prompted Jesus to make the comment he does in verse 12.

The grounds for divorce in Deuteronomy were vague and at best were described as “some indecency” on the part of the woman. ( note how no such allegation was raised against a man) Hence such kind of vagueness regarding the grounds of divorce led  to a much heated rabbinic discussion that had set people in different corners .  There was also the issue of the much divorced Herod family and this would have drawn Jesus into direct confrontation with the royal family. Either way Jesus was bound to tick someone off.

The question asked by the Pharisees concerns the legality of divorce and not the grounds for divorce. So Jesus teaches the truth and furthers the demands of discipleship that he has already presented in chapter 9.  He now challenges His would be disciples taking their calling to a higher standard.  Interestingly, most people fallaciously think that this teaching is only about divorce; perhaps because that is an issue that plagues many marriages today and we want to know what does Christ say. If you let your eyes settle carefully on the text you will realise that Jesus speaks on marriage and divorce.

For Jesus a couple who marries must perform three actions that helps strengthen a marriage. He is giving us the secret of happiness in married life. He or she must first LEAVE all other relationships and attachments (forsaking all others includes my addiction to TV and my mates). Then they must CLEAVE or find in each other the solace, friendship and love they seek and finally WEAVE or become one flesh through both a mental and physical intimacy.

Jesus declares that marriage was God’s plan for humankind from the beginning; marriage is God’s idea and His institution so it’s incorrect for man to add his own two-bits into what God has created. Man should not add, subtract and most certainly not divide. But because of the hardness of human hearts, Moses permitted a writ of dismissal as a concession to human weakness and as a dispensation from the original plan of God for marriage. It is for this reason that Jesus goes back the beginning and quotes Genesis 1:27, 2:24 which predates the concession on Moses.

For Jesus, “God’s original plan was that married people constituted one flesh and so divorce was forbidden” (JBC) Jesus is thus restoring the original teaching of God’s plan for creation and not something in opposition to scripture.

Fr Warner D’Souza

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2 thoughts on “Leave, Weave, Cleave – Friday, 7th Week in ordinary time – Mk 10:1-12”

  • Beautifully written… You should ask the marriage preparation course team to print this and get the couples to read and understand it as well…

  • Very meaningful message for married couples both newly as well as old. It surmises every marriage and how it should be.


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