This chapter is somewhat brief, but remarkably dense. It only contains two pericopes with a short interlude of Jesus blessing the children.
The first pericope is Jesus teaching about divorce (vv. 1-12). There is a lot going here. Jesus enters into dialogue with the Pharisees who attempt to engage him in a debate about the Old Testament (i.e. The Mosaic Law) permission for divorce. Jesus, however, raises the level of discourse over and above a strict understanding of Law. He wants to transcend Law and talk about feeling, and Love, and the Power of Forgiveness. By the end of the discussion, Jesus has also set up a theology and spirituality for the celibate vocation (vv. 10-12).
The second pericope is Jesus’s interaction with the rich young man (vv. 16-30). Again, the rich young man wants to engage Jesus on the level of Law. But, in classic Jesus-style, he raises the level of discourse to the desires of the heart and the great cost of discipleship. And, following the model of the first pericope, Jesus then describes the rewards of faithful discipleship (vv. 28-30).
Jesus’s exchange with Peter beginning at v. 26, coupled with Jesus’s description of celibacy beginning in v. 11 form at least a beginning spirituality and theology to priestly celibacy and the reason for a celibate male priesthood. As a priest I can tell you, I often find great nourishment in these verses.
Point for Prayer
Pray for your priests and deacons. Pray for our Bishop, Robert Carlson. May the Lord strengthen them in their ministry and make them the best of Shepherds for God’s Holy People.