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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 10, 1-12

After leaving there, he came into the territory of Judaea and Transjordan. And again crowds gathered round him, and again he taught them, as his custom was.

Some Pharisees approached him and asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?' They were putting him to the test.

He answered them, 'What did Moses command you?'

They replied, 'Moses allowed us to draw up a writ of dismissal in cases of divorce.'

Then Jesus said to them, 'It was because you were so hard hearted that he wrote this commandment for you.

But from the beginning of creation he made them male and female.

This is why a man leaves his father and mother,

and the two become one flesh. They are no longer two, therefore, but one flesh.

So then, what God has united, human beings must not divide.'

Back in the house the disciples questioned him again about this,

and he said to them, 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery against her.

And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another she is guilty of adultery too.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Here a new section of the Gospel of Mark starts. The journey to Jerusalem continued and the group reached Judea, a region east of the river Jordan. A huge crowd was always around Jesus, and he spoke on some important issues for the life of the Christian community. The first concerned marriage and the command for the spouses to maintain life-long fidelity. Jesus affirmed the original indissolubility of marriage by referring to the original design of God. The Law of Moses had allowed man to divorce only if the man “found in her something shameful.” According to Jesus, this rule is only a concession to human beings’ insensitivity. The original intention of the Lord is a faithful love forever. And that is why in the Christian rite of marriage the priest says the words that Jesus said in the Gospel, “What God has joined together, let no one separate.” In fact, the pledge of fidelity and the desire for a stable union able to last “all the days of my life” -- as the bride and groom proclaim on the day of the wedding -- are feelings we find in the heart of every man and every woman who starts building a family. Jesus brought out and enhanced the desire of each of us to learn to be faithful and never stand alone, “in joy and in pain.” It is not simply the re-statement of an abstract principle, it is rather an understanding of the urgency of love, of faithfulness, of mutual understanding, and also of forgiveness and of mutual accompanying in the life of marriage. These words, beyond cases, emphasize marriage as a life-long bond, and suggest the original vocation to communion the Lord inscribed in all people’s hearts. They help us to understand that love between a man and a woman cannot be only the result of a feeling; it rather should be based on a project of love, which means fidelity and construction. We often hear that a stable marriage and a family cannot adapt to the times in which we are living. To the younger ones, a life-long, definitive, and exclusive love seems to be hard. In the Gospel Jesus reminds us that fidelity is the deep desire God inscribed in all hearts, calling us to learn and love, to make an effort to ensure the stability and strength of the family union, as an image of the Lord’s love for all humanity and for the Church.

Memory of Jesus crucified