News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd October 2021: The Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
There's a lot of talk about “family relationships” in our readings this Sunday. The Liturgy of The Word begins with the Book of Genesis, in which God is creating a partner for Adam. “And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh. The Lord God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. The man exclaimed: 'This at last is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh! This is to be called woman, for it was taken from man'.” When we talk about our close personal family relationships, we sometimes refer to offspring as “my flesh and bones”. There is an intimacy, a closeness more than just a casual relationship. The passage from Genesis concludes: “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body.” This is reiterated in the words of the Marriage Ceremony: ” Marriage is a gift of God in creation through which husband and wife may know the grace of God. It is given that as man and woman grow together in love and trust, they shall be united with one another in heart, body and mind, as Christ is united with his bride, the Church.”
In Mark's Gospel, we hear the Pharisees challenging Jesus on the law of divorce. This is a sensitive matter and one which cannot fully be discussed or resolved in this short blog. Suffice to say that much has changed over two thousand years, in particular the recognition that relationships do break down, and that whilst the Sacrament of Marriage “is not to be entered into lightly or selfishly, but reverently and responsibly in the sight of almighty God”; we hear so much in the media about domestic violence, abusive relationships, women's rights … it is appalling what often takes place 'behind closed doors'. This is not intended to be a discussion on the sanctity of marriage; for in many ways divorce reinforces that sanctity when a couple can no longer be 'as one'. When their relationship has broken down, and the only effective and reasonable resolution is for them to be apart. We know that Jesus will stand up for the most vulnerable and often despised in society – for the leper, the prostitute, the Samaritan, the divorcee. We too are given the choice – to take the moral 'high ground'; or to look with compassion on those who have fallen on 'bad times' – the homeless, those suffering addiction, victims of racial or homophobic abuse … If we just ask ourselves: “What would Jesus do?” The answer can be found at the end of the passage from Mark's Gospel: “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs.” If we substitute any of these vulnerable groups in place of 'the little children', our Christian response must be the same.
The First Mass of Sunday is on Saturday 2nd October at 6:00pm. Parish Mass is on Sunday 3rd October at 10:30am. Let us unite as we come together to worship, as we welcome everyone, just as Jesus did, to the love of God's family.
“Anyone who does not welcome the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”