1 Kings 19:9, 11-16,
Within the strict parameters of this challenging Gospel passage, many of us may have committed adultery. Would Jesus have broadened the confines if asked the same question today, given the prevalence of domestic violence and abuse?
In our first reading, Elijah searches for God in the wind, the earthquake, and the fire, yet finds God in the sound of sheer silence. Hearing the sound of silence, Elijah wraps his face in his mantle and stands at the entrance of the cave.
How often do we listen to the silence, listen to what is not being said?
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus claims that he has come “not to abolish but to fulfill” the Law (5:17), acknowledging the written word, yet highlighting its intent. He emphasises what is not written – the silence. Washing the hands does not make a person clean (15:1-20). Refraining from work on the Sabbath may neglect those in need (12:9-13). To cease harbouring anger towards another is the intent embedded silently within the law, you shall not murder (5:21-22).
The greatest commandment is to love God with our entire being, through service to others, by showing respect, gentleness, and compassion to our neighbour. Recognising that human laws can be moulded to suit those in power whilst marginalising the oppressed, Jesus shows compassion to the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) and offers the water of life to the Samaritan woman who has married several men (John 4:7-18).
In the silence, Jesus’ law of love transcends that of divorce.
Angela Claire works as a chaplain in a Tasmanian local primary school and with the Passionists at St Joseph’s Hobart Parish. She completed a Master of Theology in 2021 and is currently studying Biblical Hebrew with the Israel Institute. She enjoys rock climbing and long leisurely beach walks with her husband and four-legged daughter.