Friday of the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

+Mark 10:1-12

What God has united, man must not divide

Jesus came to the district of Judaea and the far side of the Jordan. And again crowds gathered round him, and again he taught them, as his custom was. Some Pharisees approached him and asked, ‘Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife?’ They were testing him. He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ ‘Moses allowed us’ they said ‘to draw up a writ of dismissal and so to divorce.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘It was because you were so unteachable that he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. This is why a man must leave father and mother, 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.’ Back in the house the disciples questioned him again about this, and he said to them, ‘The man who 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.’

Ecclesiasticus 6:5-17

A faithful friend is a sure shelter

A kindly turn of speech multiplies a man’s friends,

and a courteous way of speaking invites many a friendly reply.

Let your acquaintances be many,

but your advisers one in a thousand.

If you want to make a friend, take him on trial,

and be in no hurry to trust him;

for one kind of friend is only so when it suits him

but will not stand by you in your day of trouble.

Another kind of friend will fall out with you

and to your dismay make the quarrel public,

and a third kind of friend will share your table,

but not stand by you in your day of trouble:

when you are doing well he will be your second self,

ordering your servants about;

but if ever you are brought low he will turn against you

and will hide himself from you.

Keep well clear of your enemies,

and be wary of your friends.

A faithful friend is a sure shelter,

whoever finds one has found a rare treasure.

A faithful friend is something beyond price,

there is no measuring his worth.

A faithful friend is the elixir of life,

and those who fear the Lord will find one.

Whoever fears the Lord makes true friends,

for as a man is, so is his friend.

Psalm 118(119):12,16,18,27,34-35

Guide me, Lord, in the path of your commands.

Blessed are you, O Lord;

teach me your statutes.

I take delight in your statutes;

I will not forget your word.

Guide me, Lord, in the path of your commands.

Open my eyes that I may see

the wonders of your law.

Make me grasp the way of your precepts

and I will muse on your wonders.

Guide me, Lord, in the path of your commands.

Train me to observe your law,

to keep it with my heart.

Guide me in the path of your commands;

for there is my delight.

Guide me, Lord, in the path of your commands.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The fidelity of conjugal love

1646 By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of themselves which they make to each other. Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement “until further notice.” The “intimate union of marriage, as a mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children, demand total fidelity from the spouses and require an unbreakable union between them.”

1647 The deepest reason is found in the fidelity of God to his covenant, in that of Christ to his Church. Through the sacrament of Matrimony the spouses are enabled to represent this fidelity and witness to it. Through the sacrament, the indissolubility of marriage receives a new and deeper meaning.

1648 It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God’s faithful love. Spouses who with God’s grace give this witness, often in very difficult conditions, deserve the gratitude and support of the ecclesial community.

1649 Yet there are some situations in which living together becomes practically impossible for a variety of reasons. In such cases the Church permits the physical separation of the couple and their living apart. The spouses do not cease to be husband and wife before God and so are not free to contract a new union. In this difficult situation, the best solution would be, if possible, reconciliation. The Christian community is called to help these persons live out their situation in a Christian manner and in fidelity to their marriage bond which remains indissoluble.

1650 Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ – “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.

1651 Toward Christians who live in this situation, and who often keep the faith and desire to bring up their children in a Christian manner, priests and the whole community must manifest an attentive solicitude, so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life they can and must participate as baptized persons:

They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts for justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace.