Scripture Studies, October 7, 2018 Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 7, 2018
Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday we celebrate the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings are largely about commitment. The first reading and the first part of the Gospel deal with the ideal of lifetime commitment in marriage. The second reading and the last part of the Gospel deal with the commitment of Christ to His followers and their (and our) commitment to Him. Throughout history Christianity has seen marriage as an image of the relationship between Jesus and the Church. Jesus here upholds the ideal in marriage. Unfortunately we as humans often fall short of that ideal. The readings call on me to ask myself: How have I fallen short in my commitment to Jesus and to my fellow Christians, especially the little ones in faith and the children in my life? What can I do to correct my shortcomings and strengthen my commitment?

First Reading: Genesis 2: 18-24

18 The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” 19 So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man. 21 So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, 23 the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.

NOTES on First Reading:

* 2:18 Traditional translation of “Help mate” is a corruption of the archaic “help meet” or fitting helper.

* 2:19-20 Naming the creatures expresses God given mastery over them. They are for him.

* 2:21-24 Woman is fashioned not out of the earth but out of the man’s own self, his very being. Deep sleep is from God that he may not see the glory of God at work in the act of creation.

* 2:24 One body Hebrew had no word for body; what they said here was “one flesh”. The sacred writer stresses that conjugal union is good and is willed by God. This is in contrast to many pagan cults of the time that saw everything physical as made by a god in opposition to the one who made the spiritual reality. The Jewish tradition insists on a single creator of all things and that the creation was good when initially created.

Second Reading: Hebrews 2: 9-11

{Brothers and sisters:} 9 … we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death, he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”

NOTES on Second Reading:

*2:8 The realized eschatology sees Jesus as reigning already.

* 2:10 The concept is that God is the Creator in Whom all that He has made finds its purpose. This is also found in 1Cor 8:6; Rom 11:36. The phrase, “ bringing”.. probably was meant to apply to God although some read it as applying to Jesus. Jesus as leader is one of the major themes of Hebrews. He leads the people of God on the journey to the place of rest, the heavenly sanctuary, and they arrive by following His footsteps as their forerunner (Heb 4:11; 6:20). The expression, “to make perfect”, appears nine times in Hebrews, three of which refer to Jesus (Heb 2:10; 5:9; 7:28). The expression is used in the Septuagint in connection with priestly consecration translating the Hebrew expression, ” to fill [the hands]” (Exodus 29:9, 29, 33, 35; Lev 16:32; 21:10; Num 3:3). The idea of perfection has ritual elements associated with the consecration of priests. Jesus’ priestly consecration involved obedience learned through suffering (5:8-10).

* 2:11 Jesus is the one who consecrates. The Greek term for “consecrate” is like the term for “to make perfect”, a ritual term (Exod 28:41; 29:33). Jesus’ being perfected as High Priest enables Him to perfect His people. The terms consecrate and make perfect are used together in 10:4; 11:40; and 12:23. In Jesus’ priestly perfection and consecration His followers are also perfected and consecrated.

Gospel Reading: Mark 10: 2-16

2 The Pharisees approached and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him. 3 He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They replied, “Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.” 5 But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. 7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” 10 In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. 11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” 13 And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 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. 15 Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” 16 Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

NOTES on Gospel:

* 10:2-12 Jesus interprets the law on divorce as having been given only for a time because His people were not ready for anything more perfect. He says that God intended marriage to create a permanent bond. Ideal marriage is not simply coexistence but being truly united in every way.

* 10:4 This rule is found in Deut 24:1.

* 10:5 See Mal 2:16.

* 10:9 This indicates a permanent bond. The word, translated as “human being” here is “man” in the Greek. It does not refer to a third party or a judge but in the ancient world of the middle east this would have meant the husband.

* 10:12 This situation was possible in Roman law if the woman was powerful enough. It was not likely in Jewish areas but there are a few cases among the Jews were it does seem to have happened although it was far from common.

* 10:13-16 This is more about the kingdom than it is about children. Typical writings of that time presented children as examples of unreasonable behavior or as objects to be trained. The people of that time did not view children as persons, at least not in their law or customary thought. Here and in 9:33-37, children are taken seriously as persons and enjoy a relationship with Jesus and a place in the kingdom.

* 10:14 This verse indicates the acceptance of children among the people of God – those gathered around Jesus.

* 10:15 We must depend on Jesus as a child depends upon his parents. Children are symbols of powerlessness. We too are powerless and must count on the grace of Christ.

* 10:16 Placing hands upon them was a traditional gesture of blessing. See Gen 48:14. </FONT

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