27th Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year B
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: October 7, 2018
One possible definition of adults could be, “ruined children.” As we grow up, we deal with hurts, betrayals, failures and other difficulties of life and people. Result is that we can become very serious, bitter, skeptical, distrustful. So we become focused on success, power. End up with addictions, become workaholics.
Children, until they are ruined, want to play, have a sense of wonder. Jesus says that we adults must receive the Kingdom of God like a little child. Not by being childish, but by seeing again with the eyes of wonder and surprise and gratitude.
Jesus was really upset when the disciples tried to stop the children from coming to him. They did not want the children to bother their very serious, very important time with Jesus!
Children are weak, powerless, vulnerable. Jesus’ concern for them reveals God’s concern for the smallest, the weakest, the least powerful among us. Our parish should also always show such concern for the smallest, the weakest, the most vulnerable among us. This is why I am always clear that children are welcome here, they do not bother our very serious time with Jesus. In fact, a parish that does not welcome children will be one that really upsets Jesus.
In this context we can look at what Jesus says about Marriage and divorce. He speaks very strongly against divorce, about two becoming one flesh, “therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” This concern for marriage is connected to concern for children and for the most vulnerable among us.
Marriage and family that is faithful, committed, united provides a place where children are cared for and protected and nurtured. God’s will for marriage is faithfulness and unity and harmony. For this reason any couple preparing to enter into marriage need to be ready and capable of real commitment, to take serious those vows, “I promise to be faithful to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health…”
Someone once said that it is not love that will keep a marriage alive, but commitment to marriage vows that will keep love alive. Another saying is that the best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.
So, what does this mean for the many among us who face the reality of divorce? First, in my experience most people enter into marriage really expecting it to last. It is a painful experience when faced with divorce. Often people who have experienced divorce have an even deeper appreciation of the importance of the Sacrament of Marriage. Often people who are faced with divorce feel they have failed, and experience that something is broken.
As a Church we need to proclaim healing and hope. For God can take even our failings, broken aspects of our lives, and bring something new. God does not want us to remain stuck in our sins or failings or brokenness. As a parish we should always show a special concern for all children and all families and that includes families who have experienced divorce. For Jesus would be upset if we ever stood in the way of them from going to Jesus.
God has a special concern for the weakest, the smallest, the most vulnerable among us, including children. Marriage and family that is faithful, committed, lasting provides a great place for the care of children. As a church we should do all we can to support marriage and family life that is healthy and harmonious. We should also do all we can to support persons and families who face the reality of divorce.
We adults might be ruined children, but Jesus receives us, desires to heal us, so that we can once again see with eyes of wonder, surprise, gratitude. Then we can receive the Kingdom of God like a little child.