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Daily Devotional for August 15

August 15                                                          Mark 10:1-16

In ancient Hebrew society, women and children held few legal
rights. Instead, they found their social status through being
related to a man, such as a husband or father. Legally, women
and children were considered to be the property of this man.

From this legal perspective, it was lawful for a husband to
divorce his wife for any of a host of reasons, including allowing
food to spoil, speaking too loudly, or being no longer attractive
to him. On the other hand, it was practically impossible for
a wife to divorce her husband. Moreover, women and children
were defenseless after divorce since there was no social
institution that would support them and no man to give them
legal identity.

In this passage we encounter Jesus establishing a new aspect
of the social order: he clearly rejects his culture's unfair divorce
practices and focuses attention on the sanctity of commitment
between two mutually consenting adults. Moreover, in blessing
the children and using them as examples of the coming reign
of God, Jesus also rejects the social view which equated
children with property.

In breaking the boundaries of the social divisions of his day,
Jesus underscores the sanctity of each person. As followers
of Jesus, we are called to respond to our own social structures
in a similar way, moving beyond the many forms of prejudice
and social division so as to create a community that includes
all people.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989

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