A student asked his teacher: “What grade do I have to make on this final exam in order to pass the course?” That question reflected a minimalist attitude towards education in general and that course in particular. The student was not concerned with what grade he could make or with what he might learn. His only concern was passing the course. The young man was doing with school what many of us do with life – expecting too little. Knowledge could be his for the taking. But he wasn’t interested. All he wanted was the lowest grade that would enable him to pass the course.
Our Gospel reading includes some men who reflected a similar attitude. They were grown men dealing with the serious issue of marriage. They have discovered that it not fun and games but a very serious issue, like most people discover. When marriage is difficult we have three options; 1, they can endure it, 2, they can give up and quit or 3, they work at making their marriage something good and beautiful.
In the reading they are discussing Option 2, If it is too much hard work “give up and quit”. They asked Jesus it that was permissible under the Law. Jesus agreed that Moses allowed it but only as a concession to human stubbornness . Though God’s plan afforded something far better , there was an escape clause for those who insisted. To make his point Jesus went back to Genesis, God saw that it was not good for people to live in loneliness and decreed a partnership. The two became one, affording the ultimate intimacy.
All partnerships falter, and have rough periods but if the people involved are willing to acknowledge weakness and fault, practice forgiveness and start over and over again then the beauty of their love can shine out and dazzle.