The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” He replied, “What did Moses command you?”
From the Sermon on the Mount.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.
Jesus replies, “What did Moses command you?” Torah does not change. Torah is both written and unwritten tradition. The teaching on divorce doesn’t change.
What is the passage context? We are in a room with a large gathering of scholars and they ask Jesus his opinion on a key Torah passage. The passage is like our gun control issue.
“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The pro-gun nuts recite the second part of the passage but forget the first part.
We read the Ten Commandments, reciting the last six but forget the first four.
The passage reads, “When a man takes a wife, and marries her, if she finds no favor in his eyes because he found nakedness in her, he shall write her a bill of divorcement….”
The rabbis debated the meaning of “nakedness.” The school Jesus seems to quote defines nakedness as finding her naked with someone else. The other school focuses on “she finds no favor in his eyes,” and argues he can divorce her for no reason at all.
“Because of the hardness of your hearts, he wrote you this Mitzvah. From the beginning, ‘God made them male and female. A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ They are no longer two but one flesh/Bashar.
“Who is “Your” of “Your hearts?” Only scholars are present. “Your” must refer to them. They want hardness of heart, to read the Torah as lawyers. Jesus wants softness of heart, to read the passage of elders/counselors of the people.
The Hebrew for Gospel and for Flesh is Bashar. A man leaves his father and mother and joins to his wife, and the two shall become one Bashar/ succulent message/Gospel.’ They are no longer two but one Bashar/succulent message/Gospel.
It is not possible to be one Gospel, one succulent message when fighting. The Gospel is clear in saying our Blessed Virgin Mary was no older than twelve and a half years old when she married Joseph. Joseph was probably not much older. One thing we can count on teen agers to do is fight about petty things. Most couples married at about the same age as Mary and Joseph.
What keeps the couple from fighting? Extended family! A toddler escapes the house and runs across the street to the park… An uncle sees the act. What does he do? Blame the mother and tell her husband about it? If he’s smart and an elder of the community he investigates and finds the door does not have childproof deadbolts on the doors. He installs them and extended family expense, immediately, and worries about cost recovery later.
Word gets out that husband and wife are fighting. What does uncle do? He arrives with his wife and an uncle and aunt from the other family. They give sage advice on how they resolved their issues and one uncle advises, “Next time you have an issue, you get one of your aunts to referee this. Gills and Morses don’t fight like this. We have certain customs. Not hitting women is one of those customs. Not arguing is another. Talking things through rationally is a custom we both share. Could give a shit what your final decision is but following the Ethics of the Fathers, You come to us both perceived to be guilty, misunderstanding the situation, and you will both leave innocent, having re-established your marital bond.”
I can hear an uncle of the first-century saying, “No! You are not divorcing this girl because the eggs are a little greasy. Marriage is sacred. I’ll send Mildred over and show her how to cook eggs the way you like them. Now get you head out your ass and build that crochet stand she wants. If you forgot, come here, I’ll show you.”
Another rule, at least of the Gills and after investigation also of the Morse clan is that there is nothing the other guy can do that justifies bad behavior on the part of Gill or Morse clan members. “The other guy does it too? I’m not talking to the other guy; I’m talking to you and we don’t do those things. It is not our custom! Bend over!”
In his homily, Bishop Calvo took great pains in stating how in first-century culture all property was transferred through the husband to his sons so it stayed in the extended family. The negative aspect of this rule is that if he evicts his spouse, she has no property and no way of acquiring any, other than marrying another.
Bishop Calvo than spent the bulk of his homily discussing how Jesus contemns the hardness of heart of a husband, also a teenager likely, who would discharge another human being to adultery or destitution.
One irony of this Pro-Life Sunday is that a second pervert joined the ranks of the Supreme Court the day before, yesterday. The rule of both coming in guilty, misunderstanding the situation, and leaving innocent, reconciled was not followed.
It is also hardness of heart to listen to women sharing rapes and near rapes in their past and to say they must have lied because the person listening to the charge likes the accuser. The standard excuses are always used, she must have done something to deserve it, reference the remarks about how there is nothing the other guy can do to justify bad behavior on the part of Gills or Morses. She must have been paid to say this. How much do you need to pay a person with a doctorate to ruin her career and face perjury charges later? The ears and the eyes close and the rape culture continues.
Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick stood by their accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. Misinformation propagated by conservative so-call news sites including conservative Catholic ones claim a single witness came forward who knows or knew Mrs. Ford and doubted her story. Torah is clear in stating a person is convicted on the basis of two or three witnesses. Mr. Kavanaugh had three accusers. Mrs. Ford had only one. These conservative news sites also claim Mrs. Swetnick withdrew her claims, also not true. Conservatives claim we should trust conservative news agencies we know have lied in favor of Mr. Kavanaugh and not trust three witnesses who claim he is guilty.
Supporting this man means you support the culture of death and politics over truth. It is just that simple. Support him before, during, or after attending a so-called pro-life rally and I don’t know what the rally is about and don’t participate. Bad behavior has consequences. If you don’t know what you support, I most certainly don’t.
This writer actually heard a nun take this position just moments after the Bishop gave his homily in favor of the Me Too Movement and supporting women making these claims. She was completely blind to how the homily related to the Supreme Court case. As a result of her and people like her, we now have two known perverts on the Supreme Court, one confirmed in the month trying to bring awareness to sexual abuse.
This case has clear ramifications. I, an adult white male who has been bullied on the job and who found his stories not believed because he reported supervisor’s find the ramifications scary. Don’t report abuse because of the hardness of heart on the part of conservatives. They won’t believe you anyway. The best option is to put up with the abuse and find work elsewhere. There is no room for Bashar, being one flesh, part of the one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, under these conditions. There is no room for sharing the Good News when your life has been deprived of the Good News by the conservatives. We then listen to them argue pro-life and can only say, “Sick Joke! If I believe that one, will you tell me another one?”
Sometimes we must make up our minds, do we support life and God, or do we support politics? As for me and my house, we serve God. We support the image of God in each and every person; we support life, and that includes the life of Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick, and the millions of those like her, and me. Doing otherwise shows a severe hardness of heart. Again, when we show this hardness of heart those of us who have been abused must ask if we as Catholics support the culture of death or the culture of life.
Instead of this disaster we should be saying, “Americans don’t abuse other Americans. Americans don’t abuse, period. Americans remember what it was like to be oppressed in the land your Europe, in the sweatshops of the 19th century and the plantations of the south. Americans remember what it was to be lied to and about. They don’t share vicious gossip about those bringing negative reports, their life experiences. They investigate and find the truth. Americans take pains to make sure people do not suffer, or they used to. My, how things have changed.
Our synod had two problem categories. How does a sixty-two-year-old liberal and a forty something conservative define two key terms in the categories, “Family,” and “Priest.” Per conservative doctrine, family is one husband, one wife, God, and the children. For a sixty-two-years-old liberal, family includes the children’s children, grand-children… “Nation” is Latin meaning a people born together by common heritage. Extended family includes the entire nation.
“Priest” is Greek for, “Presbyterian/elder.” It ultimately comes from “Cohen,” any appointed official. Hierarch or Hierarchy is the Greek for the high priest. We use the term for secular leaders. Catholic Catechism 1539 “The chosen people was constituted by God as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Exodus 19:6.
We are all priests, all sent out as husband and wife to bring Bashar, the succulent message to all God’s children. Those in the room with Jesus ask for a debate on the legal definition of “Naked.” Jesus argues, ‘You are all counselors, tasked with guiding young people in developing their families to be Bashar, bringing the Gospel, the Good News, the succulent message of love to each other and to their children.” Two people living in close proximity to each other always have differences. Each divorce represents a failure on the part of elders and priests, in fixing these differences. Get off the legal bullshit and serve the community,” Jesus says. Do we support the culture of death with divorce, bullying and the excuses that go with it, or do we support the culture of life.