This Sunday’s Readings:
Psalm 128:1–2, 3, 4–5, 6 (℟ see 5)
Mark 10:2–16 or 10:2–12
THERE IS NO GETTING AROUND IT. Today’s Gospel will hurt. Let us acknowledge that pain and admit there are no simple answers when families struggle with divorce.
The lectionary allows a shorter version of today’s Gospel reading. Don’t do it. To better understand this difficult passage, we need to hear it within the larger context of Mark’s Gospel. And the concluding section here of Jesus blessing the children gives us that connection.
Mark’s main focus is on the outsider: John the Baptist in the desert; the healings of the outcast or foreigner. Throughout Mark’s Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples that God’s reign is not found in the powerful but in those who have been left out of society’s care. By putting children front and center today and the last two Sundays, Jesus continues to turn our gaze to the vulnerable.
Recognizing that Jesus is drawing our attention to God’s will and not to the rules of divorce, we can avoid simplistic statements that imprison couples in bad marriages “for the sake of the children.” With Mark’s focus and in light of the first reading, we can announce instead the good news: God does not want us to be alone. God created us for one another, especially for those cast off. Whatever divides one from another—racism, sexism, hate, violence, selfishness—is never God’s will for us.
“Let the love of God guard you and guide you, let his love be in your heart.”
This blessing is about action, not a simple acknowledgment or good wishes. Philippians 2:5 encourages us to have the same mind and attitude of Christ, which requires work. We are called to a deep commitment and relationship with each other and to serve one another as we serve Christ in all we do. How will we let God’s love guard us against complacency and guide us toward being the blessing we have received?
More choral suggestions for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time…
El Amor de Dios / God’s Love Is Everlasting Lourdes Montgomery Two-part choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar 012649
In Love We Choose to Live Jeanne Cotter Two-part choir, assembly, keyboard, guitar G-4080
Make Us One James V Marchionda, OP SATB, descant, assembly, keyboard, guitar, flute, opt. cello 007823
May the Lord Bless Us Robert Noble Unison choir or cantor, assembly, keyboard, C instrument 006320
New Families Words by Ruth Duck / Music by Randall Sensmeier Two-part mixed, organ G-3881
No Greater Love John Angotti SATB, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar 008339
Not for Tongues of Heaven’s Angels Michael Joncas SAB, assembly, piano, guitar, opt. 2 C instruments G-3158
Not for Tongues of Heaven’s Angels Timothy Dudley-Smith, Ken & Elyn Macek SATB, 2 opt. solos, keyboard, guitar 008599
One in Love Ken Macek Unison choir, solo, three-part harmony, assembly, piano, guitar 008365
Ubi Caritas Robert G Farrell SATB a cappella 008979