When children argue, they lobby their parents to choose a side. An unwise parent intervenes to solve the conflict, deciding who is right and who is wrong. This parent is unwise, because no matter how well-reasoned the discussion, the intervention teaches the child a horrible lesson: when you have a dispute with another person, instead of humbling yourself and negotiating a compromise, appeal to a higher authority. If the authority sides with you, you have the power to impose your will on your neighbor. In contrast, a wise parent intervenes only when circumstances demand action—and if they intervene—it is to hold both parties accountable. Under the care of a wise parent, nobody wins the argument. Instead, each child looks to their own mistakes and embraces their sibling in friendship.
Acting like children, adults try to use the law the same way children use their parents: “If I can just get the law on my side, then I can impose my will on others.” That’s exactly why the Pharisees ask Jesus about divorce. Like a wise parent, Jesus turns the question against the accuser.
Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 19:1-9.
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