October 4, 2015 — Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings are timely in our society. To some they may seem “controversial,” but we must view them in the context of which they are presented. Yes, they are about marriage, traditional marriage, but they are even more about the idea of family.
Family can be defined and regarded from a number of different notions. Yet, no matter how we may look at it or experience it, Jesus assures us that the family is the building block on which our lives should be formed. Think of the families to which we may belong. They range from the family into which we are born to our faith family here. Whether you see it that way or not, our goal as a parish is to be a family. Christ holds our family together.
Our First Reading comes from the very beginning of the Bible, from creation itself, as reported in the Book of Genesis. It has to do with the creation by God of the first man and the first woman, Adam and Eve. There is an ancient Jewish proverb that reads, “God made woman, not out of the man’s foot to be under him, nor out of his head to be over him, but she was taken from under his arm that he might protect her, and from next to his heart that he might love her.” This is the important meaning of this reading. Adam and Eve are described as “partners.” We are all partners, in stewardship if you will. That is what makes us a family and a community.
This idea of family is extended in the Second Reading from the Epistle to the Hebrews. Attributed by some to St. Paul, the author is not as important as the message. Our reading today opens with “Brothers and Sisters.” That is a clear statement that we are a family of faith, and that in loving one another as we should we need to see one another as members of a family. This reading speaks to Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice in our behalf. The implication here is that for us to truly be a family, regardless how we may define it, it involves sacrifice. That, too, parallels the idea of stewardship. To be a steward, to be a disciple means that we are willing to serve one another in love. That may mean that sacrifices are necessary for us to accomplish that. He (Jesus) who consecrates and those who are being consecrated (us) all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call us “brothers and sisters.”
There is something natural about a child and how a child sees the world. Children naturally trust. The opposite of that might be stated, “Adults naturally distrust.” The relationship of Jesus to children is natural; they trust Him. He knows that is so when He advises us “…whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it,” He is telling us that just as a child trusts a parent we need to see the Lord as a parent and trust Him implicitly. Jesus often tells us that we need to be child-like, not childish. The love shared by a family needs to be shared with all those around us. That is what Jesus expects of us, and that is what living as a steward is all about — love.