Some Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, ‘Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife?’ They were testing him. He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ ‘Moses allowed us’ they said ‘to draw up a writ of dismissal and so to divorce.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘It was because you were so unteachable that he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’ Back in the house the disciples questioned him again about this, and he said to them, ‘The man who divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another she is guilty of adultery too.’
People were bringing little children to him, for him to touch them. The disciples turned them away, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ Then he put his arms round them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing.
It has been only recently that we shared with you some of our Founder’s material about marriage. Some weeks ago we have also passed on to you a table containing the various aspects of De Piro’s humility. At the same time this Sunday’s Gospel presents together both the married life and the simplicity of children. In fact the Evangelist Mark, in his ch., 10, presents the life of the little ones as a sine qua non to enter the Kingdom. Rightly so, because the life of the little ones or simplicity is nothing more and nothing less than trust in God … complete trust in God.
Fr Martin Cilia has a whole section about our Founder’s complete abandonment in the hands of God. In his book “Found Among Sinners” (pp. 133-135) Fr Martin writes:
God’s providence meant for Joseph De Piro a deep trust in the Lord of history. He believed in an attitude of active passivity and of trusting the guiding hand of God. His trust in God “who does not fail in his promises” translated itself in a deep conviction that all will be well.
De Piro’s trust in Divine providence meant a belief and a certainty “that we can say that our work, in its foundation, was moved and lead by Divine providence.” Whatever happened to him did not happen just by chance but “in his great providence God reserved this work to the society of missionaries.” All this points to De Piro’s conviction that mission has its origin in the heart of God. God is the source of this sending love in which he felt privileged to participate and give his share.
The smallness of his Order did not make him loose heart. On the contrary he saw the humble beginnings in line with the Gospel:
The gospel event of the widow’s mite encourages us, to look upwards and put our hope in him who is our most beloved father because when God is building those who build the walls do not labour in vain… God’s power, which made everything out of nothing and the power of Jesus who fed thousands of people from five loaves has never changed and is still there forever.
De Piro was convinced that mission did not depend on numbers but on people who were in love with the Lord and were drawn by a desire to share this love with others. Two important images for De Piro stress this thought.