Our first reading today is about brothers and sisters, while our Gospel is about husbands and wives.
James, in that first reading, assumes that as fellow Christians we should see each other as true brothers and sisters. That mutual trust and affection was not always in place between people who did not know each other’s names.
Chapter Four of Genesis give us a picture of more bitter times. In punishment for his killing his brother, God banished Cain to become a stranger, wandering the face of the earth. The answer Cain gave to God gives us a picture of those time when the only safe thing to do on meeting a strangers was to kill him before he has a change t kill you. Cain said, “Anyone who sees me might kill me.
In the Gospel Jesus spoke with such strictness about thr marriage bound that we didn’t seem to give any opening for annulments and remarriages.
However, to start with, Jesus did see where Moses had the right to issue separations if he found the people guilty of hardness of hearts.
The issuing of annulments for Catholic marriages got under way in 1968, and it came about in a reasonable way. A group of scholars approached Pope Paul VI, pointing out to him that the full enactment of the marriage covenant rested on the parties fulfilling four conditions for validity.
At the hundreds of wedding at which I have officiated I have always asked the same four-part question: “Have you come here (1) freely, (2) without reservations, to (3) giver yourselves to each other, (4) n marriage.
I can’t here give my inexpert opinion as to how the parties could be incapable of giving a valid consent to the marriage covenant. We have marriage tribunals who sift the evidence in such a way that no one in injured by their decisions as to validity of the marriage.