Saturday, May 26, 2018
Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them. Mark 10:14-16
Jesus used the example of children to explain the way that we must accept the Kingdom of God. We must accept it as a child would. Not with skepticism or doubt, but with openness, joy and simplicity. But this passage above also reveals another subtle truth. It reveals the natural and healthy affection we must have for others.
The world we live in today tends more and more toward debauchery and misguided human desire. Lusts tend to dominate our culture in such a way that it almost seems normal to see another as an object of desire. This is most clearly seen in advertisements and in Hollywood. Sexual sins are rampant and affect many people to such a degree that they are bound by them, not being able to break free.
One sad result of this is that there appears to be a loss of healthy human affection. In an overly sexualized culture we can easily begin to see everything through that lens whether we realize it or not. As a result, an understanding of healthy human affection is lost.
In this Gospel passage, Jesus says, “Let the children come to me.” It goes on, “Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them.” These passages reveal to us the holy, natural and healthy affection that Jesus had for these children and for all of us. However, it was not only children who came to Him. It was also the woman caught in adultery who clung to His feet and it was John the Apostle who reclined against Him at the Last Supper.
Human affection must be purified and redeemed in such a way that it is offered to others without selfish motives and, most certainly, without disordered sexual desires. When this can be done, just as Jesus did it, the embrace of a parent to a child, a friend with another, a spouse to the other spouse, etc., becomes a holy and natural expression of the love in the heart of Christ.
Reflect, today, upon the goodness of healthy human affection. But reflect, also, upon the fact that our culture is saturated with much impurity causing confusion about this natural exchange of love. Pray for the continued gift of holy purity of heart so that our Lord will invite many to Himself through your heart and affections.
Lord, help me to be pure of heart. Help me to allow You to purify all my affections so that You will shine through. Free me of the selfish temptations of the culture we live in and give me instead a selfless expression of Your love. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint for the Day – Saint Philip Neri