Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sister Mary Boretti, SNDdeN
October 3, 2021
Mark 10: 2-16
While reflecting on/reading the Scriptures for today I was aware that tomorrow, October 4th we approach the final day of the Season of Creation, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. This year’s theme is A Home for All? Renewing the Oikos of God. During this Season of Creation Christians around the globe are encouraged to join in celebrations of prayer and action to protect our common home, the oikos of God. Hopefully we are all becoming more and more conscious that our wellbeing is interwoven with the wellbeing of this stunning oikos of God … and that human relationships are an integral part of the health of this dynamic web of being which is the universe.
I believe if we look at today’s readings through the lens of this year’s Season of Creation they do carry an important message. What especially strikes me is what they reveal about the very nature and heart of God, and by extension, ourselves who have been created in God’s image and likeness. In the very first line of today’s reading from Genesis God says of Adam “It is not good for him to be alone.” These words flow from a benevolent, warm-hearted God. God feels for his creation; he cares deeply and knows our profound need for belonging. God knows the pain of loneliness and brokenness. He desires that we experience communion, oneness, wholeness. How could it be otherwise for that is the very nature of God revealed in the Trinity, … the self-identity of God? Humans, and for that matter we now know, all of creation has been created in, through and for relationship. This community of being is vividly described by the theologian Barbara Holmes as the Cosmic We, and she suggests that relatedness is the organizing principle of the universe.
I think we miss the most important message of today’s Gospel if we focus on the debate about divorce. Rather it seems that Jesus wanted to help them understand God’s intention for marriage which is connected to the message from Genesis. For marriage is one very special place where those deepest human needs can be significantly met and where one’s aspirations for a full life can thrive. For it is faithful, loving, committed relationships whether in marriage or friendship, that God desires for each of us. For there we personally experience and participate in the very nature of God’s Trinitarian love. As Richard Rohr says “We—not you alone, nor me alone, but we—are intrinsically like the Trinity, living in an absolute relatedness of self-emptying and infilling.” Participating in that Trinitarian flow of love, mercy, justice and compassion will then naturally overflow into acts that protect the most vulnerable in the oikos/household of God like Jesus’ response to the children in today’s Gospel when he embraced them so tenderly. Like Jesus we too, will overflow with the passion to perform other acts to restore and heal our common home.
Mark 10: 2-16
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 kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.
The Gospel of the Lord