And the Pharisees coming to him asked him, tempting him: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? But he answering, saith to them: What did Moses command you? Who said: Moses permitted to write a bill of divorce and to put her away. To whom Jesus answering, said: Because of the hardness of your heart, he wrote you that precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. And in the house again his disciples asked him concerning the same thing. And he saith to them: Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another committeth adultery against her. And if the wife shall put away her husband and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
And they brought to him young children, that he might touch them. And the disciples rebuked them that brought them. Whom when Jesus saw, he was much displeased and saith to them: Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Amen I say to you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter into it. And embracing them and laying his hands upon them, he blessed them.
The Gospel for today in the new calendar seems oddly apposite in the light of the Synod that is filling so many of us with trepidation.
The opening paragraph, which the lectionary authors felt could safely be elided in the Mass, makes clear Our Lord’s teaching on divorce and remarriage; we can expect to see some alarming contortions over the next few days as the Germanists attempt to minimalise or shuffle around Our Lord’s own words.
The second half of the reading, which formed the basis for so much fuzzy thinking and asinine liturgical practice in the later part of the twentieth century, really gives us the key to dealing with the complexity of these issues: whatever your state or condition, approach Our Lord humbly, as a child approaches its father, and one may hope in his mercy.
The problem with the Germanists and many of the reactionaries, who want the liturgy and faith of the Church to conform to the long dead enthusiasms of the 1960s, is that they miss the humility and lack of presumption that subsists in the childlike state (not to mention the sense of awe and ability to appreciate beauty – children are often completely turned off the faux “childlike” approach espoused by the reactionaries).
If we are in a state of sin and presume to drink from the Lord’s cup and prentend to equality with His Son, we bring only damnation on ourselves; if we, as sinners, approach the Lord with humility, then His blood that flowed into the cup that we must not taste in this life may be our salvation in the next.