For the Jews, divorce was relatively easy. Among the Jews, it was only the husband who could file for divorce. The wife had no right to initiate a divorce against her husband. There were also no squabbles about the division of properties because all the property, by law, belonged to the husband. There was no question about the custody of the children because all the children belonged to their mother. It was very easy to file for divorce. If the eggs at breakfast were burned, the husband could already file for divorce. That was how easy it was to file for divorce among the Jews, the Israelites. And women had no rights at all when it came to divorce.

The first reading, however, tells us the exact opposite of what the Gospel is saying. The Gospel speaks about divorce and how easy it is for husbands to divorce their wives, and how easy it is for husbands to abuse their wives and not be punished for it.

But in the first reading, here is the bridegroom, marrying a girl from a poor family. He dresses her up, adorns her with jewelry, combs her hair, and makes her beautiful for the wedding. And after they get married, this girl returns to her humble way of life and goes out with other men, and what does the husband do?

The husband searches for this woman and when he finds her, tells her, “Come back to me. We will not divorce.” And that image of a bridegroom – literally taking his girlfriend from the mud, washing her clean, putting fine jewelry on her, dressing her in fine robes, and making her beautiful, while she, on the other hand, becomes unfaithful after making a commitment – is the symbol of the Father’s love for us. That is the symbol of God’s love for us.

When a man and a woman are faithful to each other against all odds, they are not only mirrors of love; they remind us of the faithfulness of God to His people. Who is the girl in the first reading, dressed in bracelets, earrings, and rings? Who is the woman in the first reading whom the bridegroom marries despite her tarnished background? Who later on becomes unfaithful even when her husband is so faithful and willing to die for her? Who is this woman? It is you. It is us. We have been dressed in fine linen and gold by our bridegroom, Jesus, and what have we done to Him? We are the wife of God, and here we are, divorcing God, separating ourselves from Him.

There is so much talk about divorce, but in the Church there is only talk about how faithful God is to us. He will never divorce us because even if you are the only person in this world, Jesus will still die on the cross. That is how uniquely we are loved by God.

Mk 10:4
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