Genesis Chap 1 “God spoke: Let us make human beings in our image.”
Genesis Chap 2 “And Man came alive—a living soul!”
Responsorial Psalm – May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Alleluia – If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is in us.
Mark 7:31-37 – “Children are at the very center of life in the kingdom.”
Introduction to the readings:
Genesis and the first 5 books of Bible, according to modern Scripture experts, were not written 10 or 20 thousand years ago after humans began to populate the earth and form tribes. Rather, they were probably written in 5th or 6th century before Jesus (probably during or right after Babylonian captivity 555).
They were written to give the Israelites a beginning and a common history. That made them a special people with noteworthy ancestors and their own extensive rules to live by. This set the Israelites apart and helped hold them together. (Remember the ten tribes of Judah weren’t able to stick together, and disappeared, absorbed into the DNA of their captors.)
And so we have the stories of Genesis and of the books that followed; such as the stories as story of Adam and Eve, of Cain and Abel and Seth (who replaced Abel), and later of Noah, and later still of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and later still of Moses and so on and on.
The first creation story in Ch 1 of Genesis has a more cosmic style, placing human beings at the pinnacle of creation to give everything a name, and to rule over and take care of the earth and of all living creatures.
The second creation story in Ch 2 of Genesis is used in today’s Mass as the back-story for the Gospel reading from Mark about Jesus expanding the ideal of marriage and his recognizing the beginnings of the equality of men and women in marriage.
In Jesus’ time men could, on a whim, just fill out a certificate of dismissal to divorce his wife. A woman had no such right. Unbelievable at that time, Jesus mentioned that women could also divorce their husbands. He also raised the ideal, explaining that a husband and wife have like responsibilities to each other.
Jesus gave marriage the higher ideal of ‘lasting fidelity and lasting connection.’ The Church, though allowing ‘catholic divorce’ or annulment, has traditionally interpreted the words in the Gospel literally—and has not acknowledged divorce or remarriage, if the Church doesn’t have a hand in it through the annulment process.
Bishops and others are being called to Rome this very month by Pope Francis to make pastoral decisions concerning family issues. Many say this update may acknowledge Christian Marriage as a Christian ideal, while acknowledging that we imperfect humans are often unable to achieve the ideal. From a pastoral perspective this could allow for Catholic communities to accept and welcome people who are divorced or remarried (as we do in this community without reservation).
Readings 1, 2, and Gospel
I want to say just a few words about simplicity in children. First, I am thankful that Stack and this community stand strong for welcoming and accepting children.
This gives us a unique opportunity to observe what Jesus meant by accepting the kingdom, “in the simplicity of a child”, and we can continue to watch and learn how to live that in that simplicity. What I associate with the simplicity of a child, if they are allowed their natural, instinctive inclinations, are: they tend to be more into connecting than making distance, more accepting than rejecting, more curious than judgmental, more naturally free than fearful, more open than defensive, and more giving than withholding.
Examples of Pope Francis in visit to our country: Seeks/welcomes children to hold/touch; simplicity of dress; little Fiat; words & gestures…Our children: say what think/feel; open; natural freedom; share; give…
Ask yourself: How do I live in the simplicity of a child in my life and relationships?