It is not surprising that today our Gospel passage centres on marriage, given that for the past two days, our Gospel passage centred on forgiveness and settling disputes among one another.
Personally, I see a connection between Jesus talking about forgiving not only seven times but seventy-seven times seven times and Jesus talking about the fact that divorce is not permissible.
Having been a priest for just five years (today, happens to be the anniversary of my priesthood), having heard and seen many marriage cases, I can confidently define marriage in this way: THE HAPPY UNION OF A MAN AND WOMAN WHO KNOW HOW TO FORGIVE.
Yes, for me, the essence of marriage is forgiveness. Without forgiveness, marriage becomes a survival of the fittest. It is forgiveness that sustains marriage; knowing that your spouse is not a competitor to you but a part of you. When you forgive your spouse, you basically forgiving yourself.
For anyone preparing to marry, just bear in mind that the sustenance of your marriage would depend on your ability to forgive as many as seventy times seven the same person over and over again. Once you start keeping records of offences, you allow the devil take a tiny space in your heart and one day, the devil will crash that marriage.
When you are able to live together despite the faults and limitations of each other when you are able to overlook and accept each other just as they are without trying by all means to change the other person, marriage becomes sweet and the thought of divorce will never arise.
The whole logic of divorce is that if I get rid of my spouse, there will be another one better than him or her out there. This is not true! Human beings are human beings. Expect you want to marry an angel from heaven.
After speaking about divorce in this way, Peter was shocked. He said to Jesus: “in that case, it is better not to marry now.” That was when Jesus brought it the idea of celibacy (eunuchs) but Jesus also added that this is not meant for everybody.
Honestly, celibacy is a gift, it is not a natural way of life. There are persons today who ought to be celibates but do not have the gift, they live a double life and are not happy! To opt for celibacy simply because marriage is difficult is to make the greatest mistake of your life. Celibacy like marriage demands faithfulness. As much as one needs strong self-discipline to be faithful to his or her spouse, one also needs strong self-discipline to be truly celibate especially in our age and time.
Marriage is sweet and beautiful if only spouses learn to see each other as one. Stop fighting your spouse, keep forgiving, be faithful to each other and keep calling on God day in day out. Divorce is not an option.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase faithfulness. Amen
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Joshua 24:1-13 and Matthew 19:3-12).