Liturgy of the Sunday

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Twenty-seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time


First Reading

Genesis 2,18-24

Yahweh God said, 'It is not right that the man should be alone. I shall make him a helper.' So from the soil Yahweh God fashioned all the wild animals and all the birds of heaven. These he brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild animals. But no helper suitable for the man was found for him. Then, Yahweh God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And, while he was asleep, he took one of his ribs and closed the flesh up again forthwith. Yahweh God fashioned the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. And the man said: This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh! She is to be called Woman, because she was taken from Man. This is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Second Reading

Hebrews 2,9-11

but we do see Jesus, who was for a short while made less than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he submitted to death; so that by God's grace his experience of death should benefit all humanity. It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should, in bringing many sons to glory, make perfect through suffering the leader of their salvation. For consecrator and consecrated are all of the same stock; that is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 10,2-16

Some Pharisees approached him and asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?' They were putting him to the test. He answered them, 'What did Moses command you?' They replied, 'Moses allowed us to draw up a writ of dismissal in cases of divorce.' Then Jesus said to them, 'It was because you were so hard hearted that he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation he made them male and female. This is why a man leaves his father and mother, and the two become one flesh. They are no longer two, therefore, but one flesh. So then, what God has united, human beings must not divide.' Back in the house the disciples questioned him again about this, and he said to them, 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another she is guilty of adultery too.' People were bringing little children to him, for him to touch them. The disciples scolded them, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, 'Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' Then he embraced them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

"It is not good that the man should be alone!" These words God said at the beginning human history are written in the depth of every man and every woman and ratify their deepest vocation: everyone is marked, and therefore called, to communion, fraternity, and mutual help. We could say that this is God's very vocation. Being in the image of God means belonging to Him, living His very life that is the love that connects the Father to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. The Bible pages reveal the mystery of their love. And truly their communion appears clearly: never do we find the Father without the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thus we can say that as they do not live by themselves, also men and women cannot live by themselves, separated and distant one from the other. The dimension of communion is the life of God and of human beings.
It is in this perspective that we can understand the second part of the Gospel we heard. It is the very tender scene of some parents who present their children to Jesus so that he may touch them. They ask that good Teacher a gesture of love and blessing as Mark concludes at the end: "And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them." The disciples, who so often do not understand the thoughts of the teacher, get annoyed to see this crowd of children. Jesus becomes indignant at the disciples while he is softened by the little ones. This is a minor episode, but it suggests its importance for the Christian community. Today it still resounds like a heartfelt exhortation from Jesus: "Let the children come to me; do not stop them!" For Jesus, those children represent an example to everyone: their race towards him is a teaching to us adults so fixed on ourselves. In those children there was neither fear nor prevention nor distrust. Jesus, who reads in the hearts, knows it well. That is why his reaction to the disciples is outrage. Behind those little ones are the many children of the world who are victims of war, hunger, violence, disease. We present them to the Lord so that He may bless them, and they may find love and support in their growth.
The care of the little ones is also a grace because in them the Lord shows us the example of how to be his disciples. Already a few verses earlier the evangelist Mark narrated the episode of Jesus who puts a child in the centre and embraces him saying: "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me" (Mk 9:37). If first Jesus invites us to welcome the little ones, to take care of them, now he sets them as a model: "For it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs." And he adds: "Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." The kingdom of heaven belongs to those disciples who know how to be like children, that is, who know how to entrust themselves to the Lord. The Gospel invites us to carve out our lives in the dimension of the child: let us allow ourselves to be taken in His arms so that we too can be caressed by his love and receive his blessing. His hands do not abandon us: they save us from evil and deliver us to peace.