|Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor|
The questions was asked of Jesus: "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"
In Jesus', answer the word of God gets most interesting. Jesus replied: "What did Moses command you?"
They answered that Moses permitted divorce. Jesus gave a commentary stating that it was because of the hardness of their hearts that Moses allowed divorce. But then he did what he always did best.
He spoke the highest ideal, the most challenging call, and the truth that he always gave, because he knew the peace and wholeness that truth would provide. In this case, he stated that God’s intention in marriage was and is that two become one.
God's desire is for love and commitment to reach an all time high in marriage. God's ideal is that two would love so deeply that it would be unspeakable and nearly impossible to divide or separate them.
What could be more compelling or more consoling than to know that God desires for a man and woman, in marriage, to experience oneness, wholeness, completeness with one another — and all without ever loosing one's own identity or uniqueness?
If this is so, then perhaps this is why it is unwise to move in with one another, or begin sharing the marital intimacies with one another, or rush the marital commitments, until two people have come to share such a love and truly believe that they desire and are capable of growing it forever.
The proof is in the love, not in the ceremony or document. Those confirm what is.
This too, perhaps, is why there is so much controversy around the issue of gay marriage. From the point of view of many people of faith, they point precisely to this passage of Genesis to proclaim that it is clearly God's intention that marriage belongs only to men and women.
The response from those in support of gay marriage would flow just as strongly out of the Gospel passage today.
If Jesus would speak so highly of the love of marriage, who wouldn’t want this? This is exactly why the fight is so intense.
Gay men and women want to share the same ideal, challenge, call and commitment. They believe in the same truth and in the same love. They believe they shouldn’t be prevented from sharing this.
Add to this question the historical reality that continues to this day and certainly was present in the time of Jesus. It existed among some Jews historically and certainly in the lives of their neighbors – polygamy.
Some men had many wives. How did or could this ideal of Jesus ever be realized between one man and a group of women?
Open mind and heart.
It is precisely such realities that will eventually show who we are.
Are we really people of the kingdom?
Listening like a little child to God’s word — to Jesus — is listening with total trust, and with openness of heart, soul and mind.
Listening to Jesus and to God’s word can lead us in many directions and to many places. Creating more laws and condemnations after the fact — that is, after a marriage has disintegrated and died — is not what is needed.
Perhaps more work and ministry like that of Marriage Encounter is what is needed.
To support, teach, love, guide, and offer healing and understanding to those called to such an ideal, is the real work of every Christian and the real work of the church.
Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email email@example.com.