Father Edward Hopkins, LC
came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan.
And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was
his custom, he again taught them. 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.”
Then in the house the disciples asked him again about
this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his
wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and
if she divorces her husband and marries another, she
Introductory Prayer:Lord Jesus, I believe in your
immeasurable love reflected in your gift of the Eucharist.
I believe that you call me to share in
this gift with my own gift of self. I trust
that you will grant me the light and desire
to sacrifice myself and purify my love for you and
others. I love you, Lord, with this prayer. May
it increase the authenticity of the love expressed in
my daily life.
Petition:Lord, help me to penetrate the meaning
of “loving in the flesh.”
1. Docile or ‘Un-teachable’? Jesus taught
those who gathered to learn from him that they
should keep their hearts open and docile. The Pharisees
gather not as learners, but as those who “know better.”
They constantly look for problems and difficulties in Jesus’
teaching. Their aim is to test him, to find
what is wrong, or to trap him in his words.
This they never manage to do. From his teaching
in the Temple at the age of 12 till
the present, no one has spoken like him—with authority and
truth. How do I approach the teaching of Jesus
and his Church? Am I, with faith, open to learn
and change my behavior, if necessary? Or do I,
with a hardened heart, look for a way to
affirm my own truth?
2. Hardness of Heart: To divorce or
not to divorce? This question is not right! The
correct question is: “How does God want us to
love?” The difference lies in the state of our heart.
The one who is open and loves God seeks
to know his will. The one who is closed-minded is
usually a slave of sin and so lacks the
freedom to seek or know the truth. Such a
person’s only objective is to justify what he or she
wants. Divorce can be justified—it was by Moses. Why?
Because of our hardness of hearts, our not being
ready to live the fullness of real love. Jesus speaks
the truth and gives the grace to live it.
Do I allow him to challenge me to live beyond
the minimal, beyond the borders of “Thou shalt not,”
and to desire what he desires? What do I
do to free myself from the sin and imperfections that
keep me ignorant of God’s true will in my
3. The Flesh of God’s Plan: The “flesh” that
God created was holy, a gift: a Temple of God
and destined for eternal life. Jesus became flesh and
then left us his flesh, because we had lost sight
of its true value and sacredness. It may be
only in the Eucharist that we can regain the
truth of our flesh and of our vocation to love,
to self-donation. Crucified-Christ shatters our fleshy tendency to self-gratification.
It substitutes “one flesh,” one body, given for the
life of others. The unity and indissolubility of marriage
declare the key of love: We are no longer two
but one flesh, one life, one interest, one vocation.
Just as Jesus no longer can talk about “his
own life” after giving us the Eucharist, so a married
couple no longer can talk of “self,” but only
of the gift of “what God has joined together.”
What is my flesh for? The life of others?
with Christ: Dear Lord, free my heart from all its
attachment to sin and selfishness. Grant me a desire
to know your will. Purify my respect, love and
appreciation for the sacredness of my body and that of
others, the sacred unity of marriage, and the sacred
gift of your flesh in the Eucharist.
spend one hour in adoration reflecting with Christ on the
gifts of life, love, marriage and the Eucharist, all
seen more clearly in “his flesh.”