Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it. Mark 10:15
you have made us in your own image,
creating us male and female,
and you have consecrated the covenant of
marriage so that in it is signified the spiritual
marriage between Christ and his Church:
pour your grace upon all who are called to
this holy state, that, keeping their promise of
faithfulness to each other, they may reflect in
their lives your love for us all;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Job 1:1, 2:1-10
- Psalm 26
- Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12
- Mark 10:2-16
- Job 23:1-9, 16-17
- Psalm 22:1-15
- Hebrews 4:12-16
- Mark 10:17-31
A Thought to Ponder
Pentecost 19 – Mark 10:2-16
“Because of the hardness of your hearts [Moses] wrote 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.”
“Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”
The question of divorce was among the most divisive issues in Jewish society. The Book of Deuteronomy (24: 1) stipulated that a husband could divorce his wife for “some indecency.” Interpretations of exactly what constituted “indecency” varied greatly, ranging from adultery to accidentally burning the evening meal. Further, the wife was regarded under the Law as the husband’s chattel, with neither legal right to protection nor recourse to seeking a divorce on her own. In Biblical times, there was little appreciation of love and commitment in marriage – marriages were always arranged in the husband’s favour, the husband could divorce his wife for just about any reason, the woman was treated little better than property. Divorce, then, was tragically common among the Jews of Jesus’ time.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus cites the Genesis account of the creation of man and woman (today’s first reading) to emphasise that husband and wife are equal partners in the covenant of marriage (“the two become one body”). The language of Genesis indicates that the Creator intends for the marriage union to possess the same special covenantal nature as God’s covenant with Israel. Jesus again appeals to the spirit of the Law rather than arguing legalities: It is the nature of their marriage covenant that husband and wife owe to one another total and complete love and mutual respect in sharing responsibility for making their marriage succeed.
Today’s Gospel reading also includes Mark’s story of Jesus’ welcoming the little children. Again, Jesus holds up the model of a child’s simplicity and humility as the model for the servant-disciple.
Jesus appeals to his followers to embrace the Spirit of love that is the basis of God’s “law” – we are called to act out a sense of the compassion and justice of God rather than fulfilling legalisms and detached rituals.
Marriage is more than a legal contract between two “parties” but a sacrament– a living sign of God’s presence and grace in our midst, the manifestation of the love of God, a love that knows neither condition nor limit in its ability to give and forgive.
In every stage of a couple’s life, a marriage centred in the love of God always moves beyond “hardness of heart” to embracing God’s spirit of generosity and selflessness. In such a marriage, Christ is the ever-present Wedding Guest who makes a couple’s simple, everyday life together a miraculous sacrament in which the love of God is revealed to all.
A child’s marvellous sense of wonder, inquisitiveness and simplicity that deflates adult “logic” and the “conventional wisdom” and makes us look at the essence of our actions and our beliefs models for us how to respond in faith to Jesus’ call to discipleship.
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