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Matthew 5:27-32

The Word of God

Jesus said to the crowds, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell." 'It was also said, "Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce." But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Matthew 5:27-32
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This is not an easy text to deal with, especially in our times where relationships are so fragile and divorce so widespread. Experts differ in their interpretation: was Jesus expressing a precept or an ideal as he does in the other paragraphs? What is the meaning of 'except on the ground of unchastity'? It is certainly not within the scope of these notes to arrive at conclusions on this obscure point. But it must be obvious to even the casual reader that Jesus upholds the ideal of marriage as indissoluble.
    • The Sermon on the Mount looks at our heart, from which our actions proceed as the fruits from a tree. In this perspective, personal integrity always comes first, even at very high personal cost. Lord, help me to be your disciple, whatever the cost.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Society at the time had a strong focus on Law. But Jesus says that mutual fidelity, reverence and respect are to characterize all our relationships.
    • Sin lies in spoiling relationships. Ideally the relationship of marriage would mirror God’s unbroken relationship of fidelity and love with us. Can I help in any way to strengthen even one marriage – my own or another’s?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • I hear you, Lord. If I deliberately use my eyes to stimulate my carnal desires, I am launching myself on the road to adultery. There is an internal desire of which adultery is only the fruit. You know, Lord, there is a whole industry devoted to stimulating my lust by advertising and by the visual media - what long ago we used to call cheesecake images. The concupiscence of the eyes is always titillating me. I need your sustaining grace, and the reminders of your words, to keep my heart from being mired.
    • Prayer gets to the heart of religion and religion must go to the heart. Right actions are not enough: one can sin in the heart. Prayer purifies actions, and good actions lead to prayer. In prayer, as well as in good spiritual conversation, we can find the way to growth and to conversion.
    • With these words of Jesus we bring to our prayer people who have experienced difficulties in marriage and in their family commitments. Prayer is not necessarily the time for long thoughts on adultery or divorce, but a time to pray for light, guidance and strength for ourselves and for all we know who may be in family or marital difficulties.