Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Joshua 24:1-13 + Matthew 19:3-12
August 13, 2021
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
In raising the institution of marriage to the dignity of a sacrament, Christ transformed it into a covenant reflecting His own love for His Church. This transformation was symbolized at the wedding at Cana by Jesus transforming water into wine. In the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the natural is transformed by the supernatural into some third thing that is both.
Certainly there is a stark contrast between marriage during the Old Testament and the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. We might say something similar of the contrast between Christian marriage and what many today—including the federal government, and in collusion with them, state governments—are labeling “marriage”. The former contrast can be easily seen through the example of Moses, who more than 1200 years before Christ permitted the Israelites to divorce [Deuteronomy 24:1-4]. Moses’ concession to human sinfulness, however, is repudiated by Jesus in today’s Gospel passage, and the original will of the Creator is reaffirmed against that concession.
The indissolubility of marriage is due not only to the fact that it’s God Himself who is marriage’s origin, but also the One whose divine love marriage points to. Thirdly, He is its mirror in the present, as spouses vow to help each other and their children each day to strive for Heaven.