Scripture: 1st Reading: Joshua24,1-13; Resp. Psalm: Ps136,1-3,16-18,21-22,24; Gosp. Accl.: 1Thess2,13; Gospel: Mt19,3-12
The love of God is un-merited, a free gift, and a privilege. God's nature is love. He chooses to bless out of pure love. No one has a right to lay claim to His attention. He gives it because He is God.
Joshua in his farewell discourse today let it be known that Yahweh chose His people out of no merit of their own. Yahweh chose them out of love and remained steadfast and committed to His relationship with Israel. He took their fathers from distant lands where they served strange gods, led them through Canaan and blessed them to become a great nation.
Yahweh blessed Esau, the son of Isaac and also blessed Jacob his brother. Jacob went down to Egypt but when the cries of the people reached Yahweh, He brought them out with a mighty hand, brought them to the Promised Land and gave other people's land to them, lands on which they had not laboured, cities they had not built and vineyards they had not planted.
It was therefore clear to Joshua that their entire story was one of a chronicle of privileges from God who loved them with a special love and preferred them out of no choice of their own. God did all these to demonstrate that His love and mercy abide for all time and forever.
That chronicle of undeserved love gives us the basis of what God expects to exist between His creatures. The love that therefore should exist between a man and a woman should be a reflection of the love of God. This is why our Lord today condemned divorce, except in the case of unchastity.
Our Lord said clearly that the marriage institution, formed on the union of a man and a woman, is a journey of all life. Our Lord condemned divorce and remarriage as adultery. He categorically stated that marriage is not just between the man and the woman but that marriage is a covenant to which God is a signatory. That is why God is the One who joins the man and woman together and what He has so joined together, no man must put asunder.
The word today challenges us to go above selfishness and self-centredness that have characterized many marital unions. For many, marriage is a business contract. If it works to their favour, it continues. If it does not, it can go to extinction. To think and act this way is to go against the express injunction of God. To think and act this way is to commit a grave sin in the sight of the Almighty.
Today, we remember marriages in distress. We pray for couples that have lost the fire of initial love. We remember the children that are caught in the crossfires of these litigations and almost destroyed homes. We pray that all those reading this reflection today will allow the Spirit of God to put a balm over their wounds and that they will be docile to what He will say to them in prayer today.
We remember also families that are holding on in spite of great difficulties. We pray for those who do not want to break the covenant they made with God. We ask God to give them courage to carry on for the sake of the kingdom to which they became signatories when they received their baptism.
Let us pray: God our Father, you have revealed yourself to us as love. Fill our hearts with your love. Bless all Christian marriages with your love and fidelity. Rekindle your love in marriages where the fire of love has dimmed. Bless your children with courage to move on with their commitment. End the dominion of satan over our families. Give us true peace and love in our families, the domestic church. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.