October 3, 2021
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dear Followers of Jesus,
We listen to Mark 10:2-16 today as a child of God. The covenant of God among each person on earth is indeed a marriage bond. The fidelity of God in all creation is true and beautiful. Each person beholds the dignity of God’s breath of creation. Each person matters. Each person reflects the generosity and conviction of ongoing creation.
I am not married. Nor do I have children. However, this gospel opens doors to fidelity. Marriage is not easy, yet the Church holds up the ideal because it reflects God’s covenant within us. Raising children is not easy, yet marriage and community, all support the love and encouragement needed to raise the next generation.
This gospel upholds God’s generativity. At the heart of all commitment, lies the grace of our Creator to help us through the difficulties of life. This gospel is rock for us. It upholds an ideal. Of course, life is not so clean and easy. Divorce, suffering, and losing a child to addiction, abuse, and heartache, is also real. Our commitments hold within them God’s desire to love us. Sometimes we lose our way.
We uphold God’s love within us. Yet, we cannot judge those whose commitments have lost meaning and love. It is not the role of the Christian community to shake an angry fist at others who are divorced or whose children have made their own decisions about life, sexuality, or commitment. Our role is strictly to love our neighbors and support the next generation no matter how life turns out.
As I read this gospel again, my heart goes back to January 1979. At the time, I was in the first class of our novitiate in Cascade, Colorado. We were sent to various places of ministry for a couple of weeks in January. I was sent to Phoenix. During my visit, a Holy Cross Brother planned for me and a classmate to be in a birthing room at the hospital to witness a birth.
I met the mother, father, and doctor just minutes before birth. The father gave me his camera and told me to take photos. I could not believe it, but I took the camera and not only witnessed the birth, but also photographed the moment of sheer miracle. I still hold on to that moment, seeing the expressions on the faces of the doctor, nurses, and aids and indeed the family as we all experienced the child’s first crying out in our world. I admit, I see life very differently after that moment.
God’s covenant needs nurturing. Life is incredible. Birth, love, commitment, are all beyond our human endeavors. Life is painful, messy, unpredictable, underappreciated, and full of joy. Each moment of breath needs to be cared for, supported, and given a place to expand. Every person on earth is lovely.
When we read this gospel with such a wonder about life and commitment, we see the need to come before God every day to be grateful, to put back into the hands of God the very miracle of life.
God give you peace,
Fr. Ron Raab, CSC