Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time.
I will ask for an unbreakable hope in the power of God's grace acting in me
God, I believe in your presence here with me as I begin this moment of prayer. I hope in you. I know
that you will always take care of me. I want this time with you to be a sign of my love for you. I
seek only to please you, without desiring any spiritual consolation for
Lord God, fill me with your grace so I can meet your lofty
1. Hardness of Their
The Pharisees heard Jesus' teaching against divorce at the Sermon on the Mount, a
teaching which contradicted the practice of the Jews. And so they sought to trap him in this
instance into putting his teaching in opposition to Moses. They were hoping to discredit him. But
Jesus knew their twisted intentions and grounded his teaching on God's original plan for man and
woman. He knows that they were looking to get around the will of God and carve exceptions. Jesus
felt no need to pander to the crowd or offer an easier way out when challenged. His focus was on
what God intended. Even today he challenges everyone to respond.
Jesus' teaching seems so counter-cultural, no less today than in his own time.
How can he be so bold and ask for so much, since we still labor under the same sin, imperfection and
hardness of heart as the people of Moses' time and his time? The key is that Jesus does not simply
add new laws; he brings the grace to be able to live as God intended "from the beginning," that is,
before sin entered the world. Christ can ask more of us because he himself brings the grace for us
to live our lives before God in a new way. By grace we are made "new men (and women) in Christ" and
transformed into children of God who are empowered to live in holiness and the full
3. Never Give Up:
The disciples seem to be discouraged at
first, because the new teaching of Jesus is difficult to live: "then it is better not to marry."
They are seeing things through their own narrow experience and through the lens of popular opinion.
Yet they must make the transforming encounter with the grace of Christ. We, too, need to believe in
that grace and to communicate it to others, since it enables us to love others "as he loved us." It
is what brings the vitality and freshness to our Christian lives, and makes us able to offer
something new and hopeful to the world around us.
Conversation with Christ:
Jesus, give me the faith and confidence to believe with all my heart
that your grace is enough for me. Teach me to believe that your commands are always supported by
your grace and that I can live as a new man in you.
will ask for an unbreakable hope in the power of God's grace acting in me.