What God Has Joined, Man Must Not Separate

“Because of the hardness of your hearts…” In today’s Gospel reading, we hear Jesus say this as a response to the Pharisees who tested him, questioning if it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife and asking why Moses allowed it.  Jesus gives us a clear teaching on the covenant of marriage.  He points us back to Genesis in God’s creation of Adam and Eve and quotes the intimacy of the one-flesh union (Gen 2:24) He goes on to tell us, “What God has joined together, man must not separate.” In this passage, we find the beauty and sacredness of the sacrament of matrimony. Jesus reinforces that this is a covenant that is not meant to be broken. At the end of the Gospel, Jesus goes on to talk about those who cannot accept this word and those who were not meant to be married. “Some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.” This points to those who have been called to the vocations of Religious Life and Priesthood. They have said no to marriage and have said yes to living out the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. They too make a covenant with their vows, which should not be broken.

Today is the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe, an extraordinary saint who lived out his vocation courageously. He was a Polish Franciscan friar, who had a strong devotion to Our Lady and is the founder of the Militia of the Immaculata.  He was arrested for hiding Jews in his monastery during the time of the World War II invasion of Germany. He ended up at Auschwitz and volunteered to take the place of a man who was going to experience death by starvation. St. Maximilian Kolbe is a martyr who lived out his vows for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, the reality that all priests and nuns do! They have said yes to a union with God here on earth. May we be as courageous as St. Maximilian Kolbe in whatever our vocation is, and be willing to sacrifice out of love for God and others.

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Briana is the Pastoral Minister at St. Mark Church in Cleveland, OH. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Catechetics from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH and is excited to use these skills to serve the Church.