Sunday Scripture readings, Oct. 3, 2021: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
1) Gn 2:18-24 Psalm 128:1-6
2) Heb 2:9-11 Gospel: Mk 10:2-16 or 10:2-12
From beginning of creation, God desired the loving union of marriage and family
Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini Beltrame Quattrocchi were the first married people to be beatified as a married couple. They lived an “ordinary life in an extraordinary way,” noted St. John Paul II who beatified the couple.
Their family life was marked by the daily prayer of the rosary, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to which the family was consecrated and heroic acts of charity during World War II when their home became a shelter for refugees. And their tireless service to the poor witnessed to love of neighbor.
This married couple was placed on the path to sainthood for devotion to ordinary family life. Their family was a true domestic church, always open to life, to shared prayer, to works of social justice and solidarity with the poor.
After the birth of three children, Maria’s fourth pregnancy was considered high risk due to a medical condition that could have resulted in the loss of mother and baby. Doctors advised the couple to abort the child to protect the mother’s life. But Luigi and Maria decided to place their trust in God’s providential care.
After the physical and emotional stress of a difficult pregnancy, Maria gave birth safely to Enrichetta, their youngest daughter. She and two of her siblings attended their parent’s beatification in 2001, some 80 years after Enrichetta’s birth.
In today’s first reading from Genesis we read that the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.”
From the beginning of creation, God desired that a communion of persons be established in the loving union of man and woman in bonds of marriage and family. Sacrificial self-giving love is at the heart of God’s plan for the union of man and woman.
So the psalmist asks God for divine blessing on the family — husband, wife and children — as he sings, “May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.”
In the Gospel, Jesus recalls the words of Genesis to point to God’s desire for the loving unity of the family. The church seeks always to accompany, with compassion and care, those whose experience of marriage and family have been less than ideal.
And Jesus’ words are meant not as condemnation but as an affirmation of the ideal of faithful love at the heart of marriage and family life. Jesus’ words invite us to consider how we might live the call to selfless love, whether in the vocation of marriage or the state of life we find ourselves presently.
God is love and those who live in the word of God live in love. God’s word invites us to imitate the sacrificial self-giving love of Jesus in all our human relationships and communities, as we pray with confident faith, “speak to me, Lord.”
How does Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel call you to greater love and faith?
Sullivan is a professor at The Catholic University of America.