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To: All

From: Matthew 19:3-12

Marriage and Virginity


[3] And Pharisees came up to Him (Jesus) and tested Him by asking, “Is it
lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” [4] He answered, “Have you not read
that He who made them from the beginning made them male and female, [5] and
said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his
wife, and the two shall become one’? [6] So they are no longer two but one. What
therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” [7] They said to Him,
“Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her
away?” [8] He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to
divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. [9] And I say to you: who-
ever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adul-
tery; and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

[10] The disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is
not expedient to marry.” [11] But He said to them, “Not all men can receive this
precept, but only those to whom it is given. [12] For there are eunuchs who have
been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men,
and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the
Kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

4-5. “Marriage and married love are by nature ordered to the procreation and edu-
cation of children. Indeed children are the supreme gift of marriage and greatly
contribute to the good of the parents themselves. God Himself said: ‘It is not good
that man should be alone’ (Genesis 2:18), and ‘from the beginning (He) made them
male and female’ (Matthew 19:4); wishing to associate them in a special way with
his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: ‘Be fruitful
and multiply’ (Genesis 1:28). Without intending to underestimate the other ends
of marriage, it must be said that true married life and the whole structure of family
life which results from it is directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiant-
ly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and en-
rich His family from day to day” (Vatican II, “Gaudium Et Spes”, 50).

9. Our Lord’s teaching on the unity and indissolubility of marriage is the main
theme of this passage, apropos of which St. John Chrysostom comments that
marriage is a lifelong union of man and woman (cf. “Hom. on St. Matthew”, 62).
On the meaning of “except for unchastity”, see the note on Matthew 5:31-32).

11. “Not all men can receive this precept”: our Lord is fully aware that the de-
mands involved in His teaching on marriage and His recommendation of celiba-
cy practised out of love of God run counter to human selfishness. That is why
He says that acceptance of this teaching is a gift from God.

12. Our Lord speaks figuratively here, referring to those who, out of love for Him,
renounce marriage and offer their lives completely to Him. Virginity embraced for
the love of God is one of the Church’s most precious charisms (cf. 1 Corinthians
7); the lives of those who practise virginity evoke the state of the blessed in Hea-
ven, who are like the angels (cf. Matthew 22:30). This is why the Church’s Magis-
terium teaches that the state of virginity for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven is
higher than the married state (cf. Council of Trent, “De Sacram. Matr.”, can. 10;
cf. also Pius XII, “Sacra Virginitas”). On virginity and celibacy the Second Vati-
can Council teaches: “The Church’s holiness is also fostered in a special way by
the manifold counsels which the Lord proposes to His disciples in the Gospel for
them to observe. Towering among these counsels is that precious gift of divine
grace given to some by the Father (cf. Matthew 19:11; 1 Corinthians 7:7) to de-
vote themselves to God alone more easily in virginity or celibacy [...]. This per-
fect continence for love of the Kingdom of Heaven has always been held in high
esteem by the Church as a sign and stimulus of love, and as a singular source
of spiritual fertility in the world” (”Lumen Gentium”, 42; cf. “Perfectae Caritatis”,
12). And, on celibacy specifically, see Vatican II’s “Presbyterorum Ordinis”, 16
and “Optatam Totius”, 10.

However, both virginity and marriage are necessary for the growth of the Church,
and both imply a specific calling from God: “Celibacy is precisely a gift of the
Spirit. A similar though different gift is contained in the vocation to true and faith-
ful married love, directed towards procreation according to the flesh, in the very
lofty context of the sacrament of Matrimony. It is obvious that this gift is funda-
mental for the building up of the great community of the Church, the people of
God. But if this community wishes to respond fully to its vocation in Jesus Christ,
there will also have to be realized in it, in the correct proportion, that other gift,
the gift of celibacy ‘for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven’” (Bl. John Paul II,
“Letter To All Priests”, 1979).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


5 posted on 08/16/2012 9:19:28 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Mass Readings


First reading Ezekiel 16:1-15,60,63 ©
The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows, ‘Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her filthy crimes. Say, “The Lord says this: By origin and birth you belong to the land of Canaan. Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. At birth, the very day you were born, there was no one to cut your navel-string, or wash you in cleansing water, or rub you with salt, or wrap you in napkins. No one leaned kindly over you to do anything like that for you. You were exposed in the open fields; you were as unloved as that on the day you were born.
  ‘“I saw you struggling in your blood as I was passing, and I said to you as you lay in your blood: Live, and grow like the grass of the fields. You developed, you grew, you reached marriageable age. Your breasts and your hair both grew, but you were quite naked. Then I saw you as I was passing. Your time had come, the time for love. I spread part of my cloak over you and covered your nakedness; I bound myself by oath, I made a covenant with you – it is the Lord who speaks – and you became mine. I bathed you in water, I washed the blood off you, I anointed you with oil. I gave you embroidered dresses, fine leather shoes, a linen headband and a cloak of silk. I loaded you with jewels, gave you bracelets for your wrists and a necklace for your throat. I gave you nose-ring and earrings; I put a beautiful diadem on your head. You were loaded with gold and silver, and dressed in fine linen and embroidered silks. Your food was the finest flour, honey and oil. You grew more and more beautiful; and you rose to be queen. The fame of your beauty spread through the nations, since it was perfect, because I had clothed you with my own splendour – it is the Lord who speaks.
  ‘“You have become infatuated with your own beauty; you have used your fame to make yourself a prostitute; you have offered your services to all comers. But I will remember the covenant that I made with you when you were a girl, and I will conclude a covenant with you that shall last for ever. And so remember and be covered with shame, and in your confusion be reduced to silence, when I have pardoned you for all that you have done – it is the Lord who speaks.”’

First reading Ezekiel 16:59-63 ©
The Lord says this: ‘Jerusalem, I will treat you as you deserve, you who have despised your oath even to the extent of breaking a covenant, but I will remember the covenant that I made with you when you were a girl, and I will conclude a covenant with you that shall last for ever. And you for your part will remember your past behaviour and be covered with shame when I take your elder and younger sisters and make them your daughters, although that was not included in this covenant. I am going to renew my covenant with you; and you will learn that I am the Lord, and so so remember and be covered with shame, and in your confusion be reduced to silence, when I have pardoned you for all that you have done – it is the Lord who speaks.’


Canticle Isaiah 12 ©
The rejoicing of a redeemed people
Your anger has passed, O Lord, and you give me comfort.
Truly, God is my salvation,
  I trust, I shall not fear.
For the Lord is my strength, my song,
  he became my saviour.
With joy you will draw water
  from the wells of salvation.
Your anger has passed, O Lord, and you give me comfort.
Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!
  Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!
  Declare the greatness of his name.
Your anger has passed, O Lord, and you give me comfort.
Sing a psalm to the Lord
  for he has done glorious deeds;
  make them known to all the earth!
People of Zion, sing and shout for joy,
  for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
Your anger has passed, O Lord, and you give me comfort.

Gospel Acclamation Ps110:7,8
Alleluia, alleluia!
Your precepts, O Lord, are all of them sure;
they stand firm for ever and ever.
Alleluia!
Or cf.1Th2:13
Alleluia, alleluia!
Accept God’s message for what it really is:
God’s message, and not some human thinking.
Alleluia!

Gospel Matthew 19:3-12 ©
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and to test him they said, ‘Is it against the Law for a man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that the creator from the beginning made them male and female and that he said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body? They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’
  They said to him, ‘Then why did Moses command that a writ of dismissal should be given in cases of divorce?’ ‘It was because you were so unteachable’ he said ‘that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not like this from the beginning. Now I say this to you: the man who divorces his wife – I am not speaking of fornication – and marries another, is guilty of adultery.’
  The disciples said to him, ‘If that is how things are between husband and wife, it is not advisable to marry.’ But he replied, ‘It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted. There are eunuchs born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs made so by men and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’

6 posted on 08/16/2012 9:25:42 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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