To Love As Does Jesus
The Scriptures present the richness of God’s love: the Genesis story of the creation of men and women, with its dose of the beauty of sexuality and human desire; the Gospel presents Jesus’ very direct teaching on marriage and divorce, plus his simple teaching on being childlike to enter the Kingdom of God.
The selection from Mark’s Gospel presents Jesus’ teaching about the facts of relationships, love and life. We easily recall the beauty of a married couples’ wedding day and their profession of faithful love for a lifetime. Today we see that it doesn’t always happen: the contemporary challenges of love and life can either bring blessed growth, or all too often, separation.
The Scriptures remind us that marriage is not merely a "body-thing", or a "social thing", or a "secular thing" – but a God-thing. The Genesis reading teaches that God wants marriage to reflect God’s love for all people, a love which never fails, and which grows and promotes life. Marriage and the relationship of man and woman is a challenge — God providing the example and encouragement to be patient, generous, thoughtful, enduring, forgiving, fruitful.
The last section of today’s Gospel highlights another dimension of marriage and life: children. People were happily bringing their children to Jesus that he might bless them, but the disciples tried to keep them away so as not to bother Jesus. Jesus’ removed the human "barrier" and invited the children to come to him, reminding us all that parenting children is enfleshing God’s love (the Kingdom) by being life-giving and joy-filled (some parents may question the blessing of teenagers…).
Jesus is the model for the love of both spouses and parents. As members of the Passionist family, we see Jesus promoting "Life" in gatherings as in today’s Gospel, and as we look to Him on the Cross of Calvary. Sacrificial Love brings about life…in everyone!
Today, may we be grateful for our faith and our vocation in life. May we seek a deepening of love in our lives, asking God’s blessing on the beauty of sexuality and relationships, God’s blessing of faithfulness and fruitfulness, and God’s blessing on children of all ages.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.