Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
First reading: Gn 2:18-24
Responsorial Psalm: 128:1-6
Second reading: Heb 2:9-11
Gospel: Mk 10:2-16
By Jem Sullivan
“I have over 100 friends on Facebook!” and “I’ve got close to 1,000 followers on Twitter!” We’ve heard such claims from family and friends as they speak about their network of relationships through social media.
Today we have become accustomed to beginning and ending relationships with the speed of a mouse click, as we “like,” “friend” or “tweet” people in the digital world. In this way, we make and break relationships easily as we move instantly from one social network to the next.
God’s word today offers us a faith perspective on human relationships. This divine perspective begins in the Genesis account of the creation of the world and of human beings. The Genesis account is all about how we are related to God and to one another. Perhaps this is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of our understanding of creation through the lens of Christian faith as a teaching of fundamental importance.
To be human is to be in relationship. We are born into a family, however small, large or broken our experience of family relationships might be. We come into this world as the fruit of love and unity in the sacred gift of new life. And this basic dimension of our human relationships is part and parcel of God’s design for the world.
Our relationships are not meant to be random, superficial or arbitrary. God desires for us to live and flourish in stable relationships that fulfill our deepest human longings for unconditional love and unity. And so we read in today’s first reading these profound words, “The Lord God said: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.'”
God created us to live in unity and friendship with him. This is the first and primary gift that faith gives us. We are never alone. We are part of the family of God, the community of the church and the community of our family and friends.
And the unique relationships of marriage and family that God created us for also have a divine origin and purpose. Marriage and family life are the relationships by which we are meant to experience the love of God, who is a communion of divine persons — Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In the lived reality of marriage and family, there are many whose relationships are wounded and broken. By virtue of baptism and our creation by God, those who experience this brokenness are part of God’s family as they stand in need of healing love and forgiveness. It is this divine merciful love that Jesus brings to all. In particular, Jesus blesses the children to whom the kingdom of God belongs.
As we reflect on our relationships in light of God’s word, we approach God in humble and grateful prayer, saying, “speak to me, Lord.”
How does God’s word invite me to grow in friendship with God and neighbor today?
Sullivan is secretary for Catholic education of the Archdiocese of Washington.