Death on the Sixth Commandment

We read at Holy Mass: A man shall cling to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh…No human being must separate what God has joined. (Mark 10:7-9)

Such ringing clarity about marriage comes as a wonderful antidote to news reports about transgender bathrooms. Economic and social revolutionaries can and do find inspirations in the words of Christ. But sexual revolutionaries run into a brick wall. Because Jesus of Nazareth was death on the sixth commandment.

marriage_sacramentBetter to pluck out your eye than look at a woman lustfully. Better to cut off your hand than use it to sin. Lord Jesus revealed that when God spoke from Mount Sinai condemning adultery, He condemned every sexual thing—except the one, honest act that makes marriage marriage, through a lifetime of fidelity.

Now, we would be fools to think ill of sex. Our churches would be empty without it. The Lord’s severity hardly proceeded from fussy prudishness on His part. He was celibate, but no prude. To the contrary, when He spoke about sex, He evoked the Garden of Eden, where the original divine command resounded: Be fruitful and multiply!

But when it comes to the union of man and woman as one flesh, the holiness of Christ utterly prohibits anything cheap, anything fleeting or libidinously selfish. He chose us for ecstasy and communion that lasts forever; He offered His celibate body on the cross to consummate our everlasting marriage with God. There’s no room at the foot of His cross for anything other than chastity.

Doesn’t mean He won’t forgive our falls. He knows what Adam’s sin has done to our human powers of self-control. When we succumb to temptation, He picks us up and gives us a fresh start, helping us to pursue again the serenity of perfect sexual honesty. Christ never gets tired of pardoning us weak sinners when we repent.

But the idea that any fruitless, short-term sexuality could peacefully co-exist with the holiness of Christ? His own words utterly anathematize this. Following Jesus means believing wholeheartedly that sex is only for marriage, and marriage is for life.

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