October 3, 2021: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel – Mark 10:4-16
The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him. He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?” They replied, “Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the king of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.”
During the month of October, we continue reading the gospel of Mark – and Jesus continues his teaching and healing ministry. As I reflected on today’s gospel, it appears Jesus’ teachings are all about relationships. In the first section, Jesus converses with the Pharisees about the sanctity of marriage. He echoes the words of Genesis when he confirms that in marriage a man leaves his family (as does the woman!) to be joined with one’s spouse to become one flesh. It seems to be that this passage also confirms the sanctity of close relationships in general – the commitment to another, be it a spouse, close friends, family members, etc. – it so important for a sacred and meaningful life.
Jesus confirms the deep-seated need within each of us for the love of one another. This seeking for love is demonstrated in the second portion of this passage as the gospel writer tells of the children desiring to come near Jesus. Perhaps they could sense the love that Jesus had for them and Jesus reaches out to them. Love for one another – this is what the kingdom of God is all about! And this love of God – enables us to love one another.
This week, let’s spend time considering our deep committed relationships. What is it that keeps us committed? How do we show that commitment? Do we often take time to ponder the love God has for us and the commitment that this love invites?