Friday, February 24, 2006


Saturday 7th Week in Ordinary Time

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February 25, 2006
Saturday 7th Week in Ordinary Time - Yr II

JAMES 5:13-20
Beloved: Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in
good spirits? He should sing a song of praise. Is anyone among you
sick? He should summon the presbyters of the Church, and they should
pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. The
prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him
up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore,
confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may
be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.
Elijah was a man like us; yet he prayed earnestly that it might not
rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain upon the land.
Then Elijah prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced
its fruit. My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you should stray
from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever
brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from
death and will cover a multitude of sins.

MARK 10:13-16
People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, but
the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and
said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for
the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter
it." Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands
on them.

It's a lovely picture: Jesus with the little children, crowding around
him, climbing into his lap. He puts his arms around them, blesses them.
The only discordant note is the disciples. Officious, an administrative
cordon sanitaire, shoos the children away.

It's not surprising that the disciples should want the children to play
elsewhere. It's true of course that in the Jewish society of Jesus day
children were seen as a blessing God had bestowed on their parents; the
larger the number of children about the family table, the more precious
the blessing. Children were loved and cherished in Jewish homes.

Yet in relation to Jewish society, children, because they were
dependent and made neither productive nor creative contributions to the
community, were not all that important. Certainly they should not be
wasting the time of this famous rabbi from Nazareth. Jesus had far more
important matters to deal with.

At the moment the most important matter Jesus had to deal with was to
teach the disciples a lesson. The very reason why the disciples shooed
away the children was the reason why Jesus welcomed them. Like the poor
of Yahweh, the glory of the Old Testament, the children were weak,
helpless and voiceless; they were totally dependent on others. They had
precisely those qualities that Jesus looked for in adults, qualities
that in adults would make them worthy to enter the Kingdom.

In today's Gospel Jesus puts the little children right next to the poor
of Yahweh in the center of the Kingdom. And to us he says, "Unless you
become as these, you will not inherit the Kingdom of God."

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