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June 15: Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Reading I Kings 19:9,11-16
Gospel Matthew 5:27-32

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.’”

Jesus continues in today’s Gospel passage to give examples of the Law being fulfilled. Today’s two examples are about adultery and divorce. While both examples concern human sexuality, Jesus’ teachings about these two grave sins take different approaches.

Regarding adultery, in order to show the fulfillment of God’s Law Jesus takes us within the human person. Jesus teaches us that not only outward actions can condemn. So also can inner actions of the mind and heart.

Regarding divorce, Jesus reverses Moses’ allowance of this practice. Not only does Jesus not permit divorce. He also clarifies that when a divorced person enters another relationship, adultery is the result.

Undoubtedly, both of Jesus’ examples in today’s Gospel passage seem to make following Jesus more difficult than following the letter of the Law. In our own day, there are some who find the Church’s consistent teaching that the divorced and remarried may not receive Holy Communion too difficult. Yet in the midst of all such perceived difficulties, Jesus sets us on the right road to healing from our sins and the many negative effects of our sins. For our part, we need to turn around and begin travelling in the right direction.