The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

Marriage, Divorce, and Children

October 4, 2015 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

October 4, 2015
Mark 10:2-16
Fr. George Smiga

Jewish rabbis often begin their interpretation of the scriptures with a question. I would like to borrow their method to understand today’s gospel. Here is the question I would pose: Why does today’s gospel have two scenes? There is a first scene in which Jesus discusses with the Pharisees the issues of marriage and divorce, and it is followed by another scene in which Jesus blesses children. At first, these scenes do not seem to have much to do with one another. But I would like to suggest an approach that makes them work together.

Jesus held a very high view of marriage. Other rabbis would permit divorce under certain circumstances, but Jesus did not. To him, the commitment made by two people for a lifelong relationship of love reflected God’s intention from the beginning of creation: The two were to become one flesh. This is a high and noble ideal. I am sure that many of you here today who are living marriage would be quick to add: It might be a high ideal, but it is often not very pretty. Every marriage includes misunderstandings, arguments, mistakes, and hurts. Marriage is a high road, but it is often a rough road. Despite all its blessings, marriage requires communication, patience, and sacrifice. In light of this, Jesus asserts that the married life is worth living, that it is a holy union reflecting the very love of God. In the first scene of today’s gospel Jesus calls those who enter into the marriage life to persevere in a lifelong and faithful union.

What about the second scene when Jesus blesses the children? Children in this scene do not represent innocence or purity. Children in the ancient world were the marginalized, the broken, the fragile who had to depend on others for survival. When Jesus blesses and welcomes the children, Jesus is blessing and welcoming the weak and the broken. Once we understand this, we can also understand how the two scenes in today’s gospel work together. The first presents a high ideal. The second recognizes a hard reality. The first lays out a lifelong commitment of love. The second shows us how God reacts when we are unable to live that ideal. I have dealt with hundreds of people going through divorce. I do not know of one who ended a marriage in a position of strength. They were all broken, their dreams dashed, their future uncertain. In their brokenness, they become the children who Jesus welcomes.

Jesus is not afraid to challenge us to a high ideal, to call us to a lifelong commitment of love. But when a marriage fails because of infidelity or abuse, because of incompatibility or the lack of love, Jesus is the first to reach out and welcome those who are broken.

We are called to follow Jesus’ example. We should not be afraid to hold up marriage as a valued and holy state, both in our families and in our society. But when a marriage fails, we should be the first to welcome a divorced parent, child, brother, or sister. Others may judge them. Others might try to keep them away. But we should echo the words of Jesus and say: Let them come to me. Do not prevent them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Change this in Theme Options
Change this in Theme Options