27th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Ages 6-9): Healing from God

(Adults, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)


Mark 10.2-16


In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus has left Galilee and has moved into Judea, much closer to Jerusalem. We know that in Jerusalem all the brokenness in the world seems to overwhelm Jesus and he dies on the cross. We also know that although it seems like this is the end, it is only the beginning. Jesus rises to new life never to die again. This is the beginning of the healing that can only come from God. In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus speaks about some of the brokenness in the world and this healing that can only come from God.

Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.”

This group of Pharisees is not curious about what scripture says about divorce. They already know the answer. They know that in the scriptures, it is understood that divorce occurs. Moses simply makes it clear how it should be done.


Divorce is a painful subject. We all know people who are divorced. Our parents, our friends' parents, our grandparents. Families are split up. People are angry, people are hurt. Hearts are broken.

Divorce does not cause hearts to break, but it occurs when relationships have become too damaged for adults to fix. Divorce does not heal relationships, but sometimes it is the only way forward when life seems broken.


This group of Pharisees is not interested in damaged relationships and broken hearts. They just want everyone to see how crazy Jesus is. They know he has something else to say about divorce.

Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses wrote this commandment for you.

Broken hearts begin to heal, but there is a hardness to them. When hearts have been badly hurt, the hardness protects them from getting so damaged again.

But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Jesus reminds the Pharisees of the first chapters of the Bible. He reminds them of the Plan of God: The two shall become one flesh. No longer two, but one. Jesus says this another way when he tells the parable of the Good Shepherd:


I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.


Why is becoming one important? What is Jesus telling us?

All the different sheep together—one flock.

Parents and children together—one family.

Everyone together—whole.

Becoming one is a sign of unity. It is a sign of God.

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Three persons together—one God.


The Plan of God is beautiful. But there is still so much brokenness. Not all families live together. What about the people we love who are divorced? What does Jesus say about them?


At first it seems like he says nothing. It seems like the subject is forgotten.

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to 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. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

How much Jesus loves children! He takes them up in his arms; he blesses them. He knows that children worry about their mothers and fathers, their aunts and uncles, the parents of their friends. Jesus knows children worry about divorce, and he takes them up in his arms and blesses them with his closeness.


But that is not all.


The Kingdom of God belongs to children he says. Children receive the Kingdom of God. They know it is all gift. What gift does he mean?

The gift of life,

the gift of mercy,

the gift of forgiveness,

the gift of healing that can only come from God.

The gift of unity, of becoming one with God.


Children open their arms wide to receive these gifts and say yes, thank-you.


Jesus says that whoever does not receive the Kingdom like this cannot enter it.

But this means, whoever does receive the Kingdom like children can enter.


Adults can become like little children and say yes

to the gift of life,

the gift of mercy,

the gift of forgiveness,

the gift of healing that can only come from God.

Adults can become like little children and say yes

to the gift of unity, of becoming one with God.


And Jesus says,

Let the little children come to me.

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