Mark 10:2-16, 19th Sunday after Pentecost B, October 4, 2015
Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
I recently read the young adult novel Divergent by Veronica Roth. The main character, Tris, took a test as a teenager to determine what faction she would live in for the rest of her life. The leaders of her city wanted her to fit neatly into their box, yet she didn’t. Her test results showed that she could have fit into multiple factions, marking her Divergent.
Each time that someone asked her about her test results, she answered truthfully yet differently. When her brother asked right after the test, she said that she wasn’t allowed to talk about it - which is true. Later, after she moved to another faction, her mother found her and asked her test results. Then she said that her results were inconclusive (meaning Divergent), which is true. Towards the end of the book, when the woman hunting Divergents asked of her test results, she said that her result was for her home faction, which is what was manually recorded.
Each time, Tris answered truthfully yet differently. I think that is what Jesus is doing here. The Pharisees are trying to trick Jesus - they want to figure out which faction of Jews he fits into. Jesus can see through their question about divorce, and he answers in a way that does not fit him into a box. Instead of answering directly whether divorce is legal or not, Jesus turns the question on its head.
Jesus takes a question that is about law and makes it about relationships. Jesus does not state whether a certificate of divorce is legal or not. He does state that God’s original plan was for man and woman to be together forever. Divorce was not part of God’s plan, neither was adultery or homosexuality.
But sin entered the world, so now divorce is a sad reality. The sins that we commit break relationships apart. They separate us from God, and sometimes they force husbands and wives to separate too. Divorce is a sad reality, yet Jesus reminds us of the love that God has for us, from the beginning of creation to today...