The Gospel According to Mark – 2018.10.07
We Are One
The reading for today brings us to the heart of the gospel:
What God has united, man must not divide.
We should be clear about this, because on it rests the entire foundation of Christian faith and hope.
The greater truth is this:
What God has united, man cannot divide, and we must not even try.
While the reading for today begins with a discussion concerning the practicalities of divorce, and human relationships. In actuality it is a discussion about our fundamental relationship to God, and each other.
We are created in unity, with one another and with God. There is nothing we can do to tear that unity apart.
In John’s Gospel we read that all things were created in and through God, exist in God, by the will of God, and that without God not one things comes into being.
In this sense our fundamental, ontological relationship to the creator goes to the core of our being.
This is true of our relationship to God, and through God it is true to our relationship with each other.
Our relationships with each other are a part of the reality of our being, relationality is a dimension of our existence. Our relationships do not just include our family and friends. We are in relationship to every other person who is, ever was, or ever will be, even those we despise, even our enemies.
We cannot change this, even the power of sin cannot alter this reality.
Here is the truth.
When I say this goes to the root of Christian faith and hope, I am speaking of salvation.
The salvation of one is not possible without the salvation of the whole, because the whole exists in the part, as the part does in the whole.
What God has United, Man Must Not Divide
Some Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, ‘Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife?’
They were testing him. He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’
‘Moses allowed us’ they said ‘to draw up a writ of dismissal and so to divorce.’
Then Jesus said to them, ‘It was because you were so unteachable that he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’ Back in the house the disciples questioned him again about this, and he said to them, ‘The man who divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another she is guilty of adultery too.’
People were bringing little children to him, for him to touch them. The disciples turned them away, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ Then he put his arms round them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing.
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time