The Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 7, 2018

Fr. José Maria Alvim Cortes, Chaplain,
Saint John Paul II National Shrine
 Washington, D.C.

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Today’s readings speak about marriage. The nuptial union is part of God’s plan for humankind. We cannot understand what marriage is without recognizing God as the Maker of heaven and earth, as we profess in the Creed. Today’s entrance antiphon says: “O Lord […] you have made all things, the heaven and the earth (.…]you are the Lord of all.”  We live in a time when it is necessary to renew our faith in God as the Creator.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus confronts the Pharisees’ skepticism about the unity and indissolubility of the nuptial alliance, telling them that the hardness of their hearts prevented them from understanding God’s design. He invites them to overcome this obstacle  and refers to the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament: “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female” (Mk 10:6). Jesus quotes the first book of the Bible to show us that we need to pass from our vision of things in order to fulfill God’s original  plan. Sin and time have made men forget their true nature. Jesus shows us who we truly are. He takes us back to our origin and urges us to rediscover ourselves according to God’s design.

Jesus shows us that there is a connection between an inability to understand the nature of marriage and a lack of belief that God is the Maker of all things.

Today’s dominant culture rejects the idea that God creates reality. The individual is considered to be his own maker. The influence of this culture undermines our belief in God as the Creator. When we recite the Creed, the first truth of our faith that we profess is about Creation. We say: “I believe in one God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.”

Hardness of heart is the incapacity to recognize that everything comes from God and returns to him. In the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews says that God is the one “for whom and through whom all things exist” (Heb 2:10). Our spiritual senses are atrophied and we fail to perceive people and things as they truly are. Our spiritual blindness prevents us from seeing the true nature of reality.

In today’s Gospel, we find a contraposition between the Pharisees’ hardness of heart and children’s purity of heart. Jesus says: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mk 10:14).

When Jesus invites us to be childlike, he is not suggesting that we should become childish but that we should see all things through the pure eyes of a child. Purity of heart is to see God’s love and abiding light in everything. Purity of heart is to perceive people and things as gifts and not as possessions. If a person lacks purity of heart, he or she cannot go beyond the superficial and remains at the level of the tangible. “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8). Purity of heart allows us to see the presence God in all things.

Today’s Word of God invites us to transform our hardness of heart into purity. We are in need of purification. Jesus reminds us of the beginning of human history in order to help us conquer the hardness of our hearts that has developed over time. Our Lord also reminds us of God and his creative power at the beginning of our individual personal histories. We were created. At a certain point, we started to exist. We are here now because God made us. We are his creatures. We did not make ourselves. It is God the Father who makes us. When we realize this truth in an existential way, something changes in us and a new and liberating sense of simplicity mysteriously blooms within us.

Let us pray for the renewal of our faith in God as the Maker of all things. May our faith increase and transform our hardness of heart into purity and simplicity. May the Lord Jesus grant us the grace to see people and things as he sees them.  Amen.

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