FIRST READING                                    
“They become one flesh.”
A reading from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 2:18-24)

The LORD God said, “it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” so out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “this at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.” Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.

The word of the Lord.


RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 128:1-2.3.4-5.6 (R. see 5)
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
and walk in his ways!
By the labour of your hands you shall eat.
You will be blessed and prosper. R.

Your wife like a fruitful vine
in the heart of your house;
Your children like shoots of the olive
around your table. R.

R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Indeed thus shall be blessed
the man who fears the LORD.
May the LORD bless you from Sion.
May you see Jerusalem prosper
all the days of your life! R.

May you see your children’s children.
On Israel, peace! R.

SECOND READING                     
“He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin.”
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 2:9-11)

Brethren: we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren.

The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA 1 John 4:12
Alleluia. If we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 10:2-16)

At that time: Pharisees came up and in order to test Jesus asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.” But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” *

And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection
Marriage is a wonderful institution, one that has stood the test of time.  it is “not forfeited by original sin, nor washed away by the flood.” As the nuptial blessing put it.  It is a sacrament with many challenges, one of which is divorce. Many couples today live under the yoke of a vow they wish they had never taken and some couples live together simple as flat mates.  This is certainly not God’s intention, for the Lord wills that man and wife should be one in every sense. Forgiveness and understanding are needed to sustain the joys of their commitment. Above all else, prayer is necessary.  “The family that prays together is the family that stays together.” As a wise man advised a couple, “If you focus on yourself you will have a bad marriage; if you focus on your spouse, you will have a good marriage; but if you focus on God you will have a great marriage.”

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