Saturday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
keep before us the wisdom and love
you have revealed in your Son.
Help us to be like him
in word and deed,
for he lives and reigns with you and the
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Mark 10,13-16
bringing little children to Jesus, 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.
• The Gospel of two days ago indicated the
advice of Jesus concerning the relationship of the adults with little ones and
with the excluded (Mk 9, 41-50). Yesterday’s Gospel indicated the advice on the
relationship between man and woman, husband and wife (Mk 10, 1-12). Today’s
Gospel indicates the advice on the relationship between parents and sons. Jesus
asked for the greatest acceptance for the little ones and the excluded. In the
relationship man-woman, he asked for the greatest equality. Now, with the sons
and their mother, he asks for the greatest tenderness.
• Mark 10, 13-16: Receive the Kingdom
like a child. People brought little children to him, for him to touch them.
The disciples wanted to prevent this. Why? The text does not say it. Perhaps
because according to the ritual norms of the time, the small children with
their mothers lived almost constantly the legal impurity. To touch them meant
to become impure! If they touched Jesus, he would become impure! But Jesus does
not feel uncomfortable with this ritual norm of legal purity. He corrects the
disciples and welcomes the mothers with the children. He touches them,
embraces them saying: “Let the little children come to me, do not stop them:
for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs”. And he
comments: “In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the Kingdom of
God like a little child will never enter it”. And then Jesus embraces the
children and blesses them, and laid his hands on them. What does this phrase
mean? (a) The children receive everything from their parents. They cannot merit
what they receive, but live from gratuitous love. (b) The parents receive the
children as a gift from God and take care of them with the greatest possible
love. The concern of the parents is not to dominate the children, but to love
them, educate them in a way in which they can grow and be fulfilled!
• A sign of the Kingdom: To welcome the
little ones and the excluded. There are many signs of the acting presence
of the Kingdom in the life and the activity of Jesus. One of these is the way
of welcoming, of accepting the little ones and the children:
a) To welcome them and not scandalize
them. One of the hardest words of Jesus was against
those who cause scandal to the little ones, that is, who are the reason so that
the little ones no longer believe in God. For them it is better to have a
millstone hung round their neck and be thrown into the sea (Mk 9, 42; Lk 17, 2;
Mt 18, 6).
b) To identify oneself with the little
ones. Jesus embraces the little ones and identifies
himself with them. Anyone who receives a child, “receives me” (Mk 9,
37). “And as long as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of
mine, you did it to me”. (Mt 25, 40).
c) To become like children. Jesus asks the disciples to become like children and to accept the
Kingdom as they do. Otherwise it is not possible to enter into the Kingdom (Mk
10, 15; Mt 18, 3; Lk 9, 46-48). He makes the children teachers of adults! And
that is not normal. Generally, we do the contrary.
d) To defend the right that children
have to shout and yell. When Jesus, entering into
the Temple, turned over the tables of the money changers, the children were
those who shouted the most: “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Mt 21, 15). Criticized
by the high priests and by the Scribes, Jesus defends them and in defending
them he recalls the Scriptures (Mt 21, 16).
e) To be pleasing for the Kingdom
present in little children. Jesus’ joy is great,
when he perceives that the children, the little ones, understand the things of
the Kingdom which he announced to the people“. “I bless you, Father!” (Mt
11, 25-26). Jesus recognizes that the little ones understand the things of the
Kingdom better than the doctors!
f) To welcome, accept and take care. Many are the little children and the young whom Jesus accepts,
takes care of and raises from the death: the daughter of Jairus, she was 12
years old (Mk 5, 41-42), the daughter of the Canaanite woman (Mk 7, 29-30), the
son of the widow of Nain (Lk 7, 14-15), the epileptic boy (Mk 9, 25-26), the
son of the Centurion (Lk 7, 9-10), the son of the public officer (Jn 4, 50),
the boy with the five loaves of bread and two fish (Jn 6, 9).
4) Personal questions
• In our society and in our community, who
are the little ones and the excluded? How do we welcome and accept them?
• In my life, what have I learnt
from children concerning the Kingdom of God?
5) Concluding Prayer
Yahweh, I am
calling, hurry to me,
listen to my
voice when I call to you.
May my prayer
be like incense in your presence,
hands like the evening sacrifice. (Ps 141,1-2)