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Published: October 07 2012
As we shall see, it is no coincidence that today’s Gospel is preceded by a reading from Genesis (2:18-24). In the Gospel, we find that the Pharisees are bent on tripping Jesus up about marriage and divorce. This is still a familiar area of contention in today’s world. “Nothing changes.” While at first sight Jesus seems to be uncompromising, he nevertheless differentiates between what God intends and what the Law permits. This is where the reading of Genesis comes in. “This is why man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body”. This is what the Father desires for every married couple – that they will be faithful to each other and support each other throughout their lives. This is the ideal; this is the plan. However, God as a loving Father knows his children and their frailties all too well. He will not break the bruised reed and so encourages us to take one small step at a time towards his loving embrace. An exclusive and authoritarian attitude will not bring home the lost sheep. Jesus wants us to be open and helpful towards our brothers and sisters in distress, as he demonstrated again and again.
This section of Mark’s Gospel ends with Jesus insisting that the disciples allow the little children to come to him. We are all “little children” in the sight of our heavenly Father. Are we, as Church, exclusive and uncompromising or are we truly children of the Father, open and welcoming to those who are finding fidelity to marriage difficult. Are we truly a Church for the poor and the marginalised, the vulnerable and the weak – a Church for all the children of God?
“Lord make me a channel of your peace That where there is hatred, I may bring love”
St. Francis of Assisi