Did Jesus ever talk about sex? Are the rules man-made?

Did Jesus ever talk about sex? Are the rules man-made?

Dear Fr. Joe: A friend of mine says that Jesus never talked about sex – that all the rules and regulations we have are man-made. I’ve asked around and a lot of people agree. What do you think?

I try not to think. It’s not one of my skills.

I know a lot of people say that about Jesus and sex, and I am not sure where it came from. In fact, some of Jesus’ more strongly worded passages are the ones where He directly addresses sexuality and sexual issues. (cf. Matt 5:27-32, Mark 9:43-47)

In terms of man-made rules, remember that in a certain sense all rules are “man-made,” right? The bigger question we have to ask is “What inspired people to make these rules?”

For us, as a church, we believe that God inspires the leadership of the church to teach us how to be who God created us to be. We trust the words of Jesus when he gave the Apostles leadership. He said Peter was the rock, that he (Jesus) would build his church on that rock and that “the gates of hell (would) not prevail against it.” It is hard some days, but we need to trust that God has his hand on the church and is guiding us in all our decisions.

We have to remember that Jesus taught us as a church that each person is created in the image and likeness of God – and that makes each human person (including you) sacred. We must treat what is sacred with care, and following the rules about sexuality allows us to do just that.

Dear Fr. Joe: How far can two people go physically (before it is sinful)?

I am going to assume that you mean outside the context of marriage, right?

Well, make sure you don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to ask that question. You see, it’s not matter of “how far” to go. It’s a matter of being true to the dignity of your partner and the level of commitment in your relationship. We must never use another person as a means to satisfy our sexual desires.

Dear Fr. Joe: How do I know if I am in love? My parents say I am too young to think about marrying my highschool sweetheart, but I know we are in love and made for each other.

Well, to quote one of my more articulate students, “Hey man, love rocks, you know?”

I know.

Anyway, let me see if I can give you a couple of ideas to help you.

First of all, your parents, as a general rule, know what they are talking about. I know that is hard to believe, but as time goes on, it will become clearer and clearer to you. This doesn’t apply to me, however, because I am a fountain of wisdom and knowledge.

Secondly, think about how your definition of love has changed over time. When I was in kindergarten, I knew I was in love. How did I know I was in love? I knew when Marcia beat me up on the playground. Now, 27 years later, I see and understand love in a different way. As I continue to grow older, what I understand changes as love changes and grows with me.

Now, this doesn’t mean my ideas of love were wrong before, and this doesn’t take away from or undermine what I felt. It means that, in retrospect, I am glad I didn’t make lifelong decisions about love before I was ready, before I understood what love really is.

So, how will you know if you are in love? Well, one day, you will look across a crowded room, your eyes will meet and you’ll know. Just kidding.

How will you know you are in love? When you are more concerned about the other person’s happiness than you are your own. When you no longer care about what you can get or how you feel, but rather are concerned with the other. If it’s true love, the other person will feel the same way.

Love and sacrifice are so intertwined with each other as to be indistinguishable. Love will prompt us to noble things. It will compel us to be better people. You’ll know you are in love when you sense these things in yourself.