He said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”
Some Pharisees come to Jesus and ask if it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife. Jesus replies that the law of divorce was given because of the hardness of people’s hearts. God’s plan for marriage is that a man and a woman become one flesh. No man, then, can separate what God has joined together.
Jesus then lays down a hard line position that anyone who divorces and then remarries is committing adultery.
People bring their children to Jesus to be blessed. The disciples try to keep them away, but Jesus is indignant. He takes the children into his arms and blesses them.
Jesus’ hard line on divorce hits us hard in an era of lax attitudes to marriage and sex. Can Jesus really be meaning what He says here?
The issue for Jesus is the state of our hearts. The Pharisees are asking how easy should it be to walk away from a marriage. But Jesus is saying that we need to work hard to save a marriage in which partners have become “one flesh.”
Likewise, Jesus inverts our attitudes towards children who can be seen by the church as a bit of a problem to be managed. Jesus tells us to embrace children as a sign of God’s kingdom. The “little ones”, the ones whom society deems to be of little worth , are precisely the people God welcomes.
Holy Father please help me to walk in the grace and holiness of Jesus today. Amen.