The Gospel reading speaks about marriage and divorce⎯but it is less an instruction in this than it is about hardness of hearts in any relationship. Think about the image of marriage: vows to love, cherish and honor one another⎯this is what we are called by our baptism to do for all people! Today we are asked to examine our attitudes and behaviors that shape all of our relationships; whether in marriage or family or parish or community.
The vows in a marriage ceremony contain the words; “No longer two, but one flesh. Let no one divide what God has joined…” This would be great advice for any and all relationships! We are joined in community, in the body of Christ, by our baptism and our belief. So: today we will choose to live in love. Our human existence is full of jealousy, cynicism, hat, and judgement, so we will not allow those toxic attitudes to dominate our lives. Instead, we can choose to consciously imitate Jesus' example of loving people—even, and especially, the ones we don't like—by turning the other cheek and returning good for evil. We have promised to love, cherish and honor each other. We can only keep doing our best; we will make mistakes, and all we can do is forgive and just keep trying to do better.
Today we live in such a fractured and divided society; we are driven by partisan feelings and choices, and yet we know that God has made us in His own image. It takes a holy resolve to honor our promises as baptized Christians to escape being tossed about by feelings of fear, greed and selfishness. So: today we can choose to will live by our faith. We don't know what lies ahead or what surprises (joyful or sorrowful) may come to any of us today. But we know that God has promised to be with us to strengthen, guide, and deliver us. We can live in confidence knowing that there is nothing we will face today that we, with God, cannot handle. We are God-confident in all the vagaries, temptations and crosses of our lives today and every day. And we may be confident of where our journey will end.
Living in love and faith today, we will live in hope. We can rejoice at the thought of tomorrow because of the promises God has attached to our futures. We will not be afraid of failures, for God has promised to work all things for good in the lives of those who love him. So regardless of how we may feel about certain situations today, we have the power and knowledge to choose to live at a higher level: in faith, hope and love—choosing always to live by our Baptismal vows. We don't have to be ruled by our partisan and divisive feelings, for we know that God has made us for better things!