27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
October 03, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.






Almighty ever-living God,
who in the abundance of your kindness
surpass the merits and the desires of those who entreat you,
pour out your mercy upon us
to pardon what conscience dreads
and to give what prayer does not dare to ask.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Gn 2:18-24

The LORD God said: "It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a suitable partner for him."
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.
The man gave names to all the cattle,
all the birds of the air, and all wild animals;
but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.

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.
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, 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."
That is why a man leaves his father and mother
and clings to his wife,
and the two of them become one flesh.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 128:1-2,3,4-5,6


R/. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.

Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.

May you see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel!

Second Reading Heb 2:9-11

Brothers and sisters:
He "for a little while" was made "lower than the angels, "
that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

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.
He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated
all have one origin.
Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”

Alleluia 1 Jn 4:12


Gospel Mk 10:2-16

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,

"Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?"
They replied,
"Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her."
But Jesus told them,
"Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate."

In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery."

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
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.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it."
Then he embraced them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.

Reflection Questions

  1. How do you respond to challenges of being alone?
  2. Is there anything you are ashamed to be known as before others?
  3. How has hardness of heart disrupted your relationships?

Catena Nova

If a man and a woman marry in order to be companions on the journey through earth to heaven, then their union will bring great joy to themselves and to others (St. John Chrysostom).

Man and woman walk hand in hand to the Kingdom. Christ calls both man and woman, at one and the same time without distinction, united by God and joined together by nature, giving them a share in the same actions and tasks, in wonderful harmony. Through the marriage bond, God makes two, one and one, two in such a way, that another self is discovered, without loss of individuality or mingling in duality (St. Peter Chrysologus).

In his book Moses wrote that a man should leave father and mother so as to be joined to his wife, that the two might in very truth become one. The prophet Moses spoke of man and woman in this way in order to foretell Christ and his Church.With a prophet’s penetrating gaze he contemplated Christ becoming one with the Church through the mystery of water. He saw Christ even from the Virgin’s womb drawing the Church to himself, and the Church in the water of baptism drawing Christ to herself. Bridegroom and bride were thus wholly united in a mystical manner, which is why Moses wrote that the two should become one....In an outburst of inspired joy the apostle Paul exclaimed: this is a great mystery! .... Who ever gave his blood as a gift to his wife except the one who died on the cross and sealed the marriage bond with his wounds? Who was ever seen lying dead at his own wedding banquet with his wife at his side seeking to console herself by embracing him? At what other celebration, at what other feast is the bridegroom’s body distributed to the guests in the form of bread? Death separates wives from their husbands, but in this case it is death that unites the bride to her beloved. He died on the cross, bequeathed his body to his glorious spouse, and now every day she receives and consumes it at his table. She consumes it under the form of bread, and under the form of the wine that she drinks, so that the whole world may know that they are no longer two but one (Jacob of Serugh).

In the name of Jesus Christ crucified and of gentle Mary. I Caterina, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, am writing to you in his precious blood. I long to see you so clothed in the garment of blazing charity…. But you will say to me, “Since I have no such love, and without it I am powerless, how can I get it?” I will tell you. Love is had only by loving. If you want love, you must begin by loving—I mean you must want to love. Once you want it, you must open the eye of your understanding to see where and how love is to be found. And you will find it within your very self. How? When you recognize your nothingness. And once you see that of yourself you do not even exist, you will recognize and appreciate that God is the source of your existence and of every favor above and beyond that existence—God’s graces and gifts both temporal and spiritual. For without existence, we would not be able to receive any grace at all. So everything we have, everything we discover within ourselves, is indeed the gift of God’s boundless goodness and charity (St. Catherine of Siena).

God is our Heavenly Father but in such a way that God loves all and loves each incomparably more and more tenderly than any human parents can love each of their children. Since our God loves each of us in just this way, and loves all and each without any exception, God wishes to see among us that same love and tenderness, and when it is needed, that same leniency and yielding gentleness that loving parents always long to see among their own children. God would have you give in to one another, helping one another without stint.... You can see from my recommendations about mutual love that I have only one purpose in mind. I want to keep peace with all my brothers and sisters in God’s one human family. If we all observe these precepts the principle from which they flow will be engraved deeply on us and within us. All are, in truth and in fact, brothers and sisters in God. God is our parent and God wishes all of us to regard and to love one another, and treat one another in every way and at every moment, like persons we love most tenderly.... Compassion is part of the love that lives in every heart; it is part of all human love. In Christ we can find new strength for compassion and for every dimension of genuine love. That is what Jesus offers us every day, always. What else can bind us together and make us one in truth and not just in words or wishes? (Bl. Charles de Foucauld).

The biblical text provides sufficient bases for recognizing the essential equality of man and woman from the point of view of their humanity. From the very beginning, both are persons, unlike the other living beings in the world about them. The woman is another "I" in a common humanity. From the very beginning they appear as a "unity of the two", and this signifies that the original solitude is overcome, the solitude in which man does not find "a helper fit for him" (Gen 2:20). Is it only a question here of a "helper" in activity, in "subduing the earth" (cf. Gen 1: 28)? Certainly it is a matter of a life's companion, with whom, as a wife, the man can unite himself, becoming with her "one flesh" and for this reason leaving "his father and his mother" (cf. Gen 2: 24) (Pope St. John Paul II).

The drama of solitude is experienced by countless men and women in our own day. I think of the elderly, abandoned even by their loved ones and children; widows and widowers; the many men and women left by their spouses; all those who feel alone, misunderstood and unheard; migrants and refugees fleeing from war and persecution; and those many young people who are victims of the culture of consumerism, the culture of waste, the throwaway culture. Today we experience the paradox of a globalized world filled with luxurious mansions and skyscrapers, but a lessening of the warmth of homes and families; many ambitious plans and projects, but little time to enjoy them; many sophisticated means of entertainment, but a deep and growing interior emptiness; many pleasures, but few loves; many liberties, but little freedom… The number of people who feel lonely keeps growing, as does the number of those who are caught up in selfishness, gloominess, destructive violence and slavery to pleasure and money....In the first reading we also hear that God was pained by Adam’s loneliness. He said: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18). These words show that nothing makes man’s heart as happy as another heart like his own, a heart which loves him and takes away his sense of being alone. These words also show that God did not create us to live in sorrow or to be alone. He made men and women for happiness, to share their journey with someone who complements them, to live the wondrous experience of love: to love and to be loved, and to see their love bear fruit in children, as the Psalm proclaimed today says (cf. Ps 128). To a rhetorical question – probably asked as a trap to make him unpopular with the crowd, which practiced divorce as an established and inviolable fact – Jesus responds in a straightforward and unexpected way. He brings everything back to the beginning, to the beginning of creation, to teach us that God blesses human love, that it is he who joins the hearts of two people who love one another, he who joins them in unity and indissolubility.... And the Church is called to carry out her mission in charity, not pointing a finger in judgment of others, but – faithful to her nature as a mother – conscious of her duty to seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy; to be a “field hospital” with doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support; even more, to reach out to others with true love, to walk with our fellow men and women who suffer, to include them and guide them to the wellspring of salvation (Pope Francis).



Divorced from Context

            For putting too much salt in the soup. Because he wanted to marry another woman.  Because his wife did not bear him the right children.  Under Jewish law, a man could divorce a woman for any of these reasons--or for no reason. According to the Law of Moses, all the man had to do was write a bill of divorce, hand it to his wife, and send her away.  And the rabbis of Jesus’ time taught only the husband could initiate a divorce.  And his wife could not prevent him from doing so. (By the way, if you’re wondering why Mark mentions a woman divorcing her husband, it’s because he’s writing to a Gentile audience too, people living outside Palestine, in places where a woman could divorce her husband).  As Fr. Eugene LaVerdiere pointed out

 In all three [rabbinic] interpretations of Deuteronomy 24:1-4, it was always a matter of a man divorcing his wife, never of a woman divorcing her husband. In this respect, Mark 10:1-12,which addresses  cases where a woman divorces her husband, is almost unique in biblical and early rabbinical literature. In Mk 10:5-9, Jesus spoke to the Jewish context of very early Christianity, where divorce was possible only for the husband. There were exceptions, but these were far too few to influence the moral climate. Jesus' radical stance could be seen as defending the position of wives, who were quite vulnerable and could be dismissed for little or no reason at all (“Marriage and Divorce in the Gospel according to Mark (Chapter 10:1-12),” The Way 34:1(1994): 54-64).

            But in Jesus’ own time and place, of course, none of this was done.  Which makes this teaching on divorce appear in a new light, doesn’t it? And while the church has looked to this teaching as proof Christian marriage is permanent, ending only with the death of a spouse, you can see how, originally, the gospel has more than that in mind. For we find in this passage, among other things, yet another indication of Jesus’ profound concern for the weakest and most defenseless people of his time–in this case, women, and as we read a little further, children too.

            So we would be wrong to hear these words and think only of the church’s regulations on marriage, its lengthy process for granting annulments, or its prohibition on the divorced and remarried in canonical marriages from receiving the sacraments without a declaration of nullity — though these things take their cue from the gospel.

            Indeed, we should first hear Jesus’ words as coming from someone who, despite cultural taboos, once sat by Jacob’s well, next to a Samaritan woman, in public, drinking from her cup—no matter the fact she had five husbands, and the man she was living with at the time was not her husband. For in the words of Pope St. John Paul II, “In all of Jesus’ teaching, as well as in his behavior, one can find nothing which reflects the discrimination against women prevalent in his day. On the contrary, his words and works always express the respect and honor due to women” Mulieris dignitatem, August 15, 1988, no. 13.)

            If anything, Jesus’ teaching on marriage affirms a relationship of equal dignity where both partners are made in the image and likeness of God. He recalls our creation where neither human being is subject to the other -- when Adam, upon on seeing Eve, said, This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh (I). Such that all those things throughout Genesis, from the expulsion from Eden to the murder of Abel by his brother Cain to the confusion of languages at Babel to the flood in Noah’s day to his brothers selling Joseph into slavery all mar the relationship between people because of the hardness of your hearts (G).  But it’s that original rupture that set the stage for sundering human equality that Jesus sought to highlight when fundamental he “enters into the concrete and historical situation of women, a situation which is.... expressed is habitual discrimination against women in favor of men” (ibid., no. 14).

           The church understands, of course, some domestic problems are best handled by a separation. And it knows not every marriage that appears to be valid is (“what God has joined together”) -- else there would be no annulment process.  And for those who were in a canonical marriage, are divorced and remarried without benefit of an annulment, Pope Francis – in something toward which his critics have been especially strident – has been especially understanding given past attitudes and policies:

 The divorced who have entered a new union, for example, can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for a suitable personal and pastoral discernment. One thing is a second union consolidated over time, with new children, proven fidelity, generous self giving, Christian commitment, a consciousness of its irregularity and of the great difficulty of going back without feeling in conscience that one would fall into new sins (Amoris laetitia 298).

            Of the latter, I assume he means what Jesus called hardness of heart. Which  appears to me central in Jesus’ teaching and presumably in the church’s praxis, hardness of our heart being what lies behind the impulse to end a sanctioned relationship whether by one party or both.  A hardness that can be melted only if we love one another, and God remains in us, and [God’s] love is brought to perfection in us (Gospel Acclamation).  For whom and through whom all things exist, forever and ever. Amen  (II).    


Intercessions (Peter Scagnelli)

Let us pray to God, for whom and through whom all things exist.

For believers everywhere: May the Lord God deliver us from all hardness of heart and make us one in the covenant of fidelity and love.

For all peoples of earth: May we celebrate the richness of our diversity and our deeper unity as children of the one God and members of the one human family.

For a responsible stewardship of God’s good earth and its fragile resources: May we dwell in harmony with the birds of the air and beasts of the field.

For all who are burdened by loneliness or scarred by rejection: May they know the joy of loving others and of being loved in return.

For all whose lives are marked by suffering: May they find hope in Jesus, who was made perfect through suffering.

For all who have experienced the pain of divorce: May they be supported by the love of family and friends.

For the married people of our community: May God help them to persevere as one flesh in one covenant of love.

For all in this assembly, whom Jesus is not ashamed to call brothers and sisters: As we sanctify this day to God’s glory, may God’s grace also sanctify us.

For those departed ones who put their faith in Jesus: May they be crowned with glory and honor.  

Creator God, in Christ you call man and woman to the fullness of glory for which you created them in your image. Heal our hardened hearts, renew our obedience to your spoken will, and conform our lives to your gracious design. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen (ICEL 1998).


Let the little children come me, and do not hinder them,

for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

I tell you the truth: anyone who will not receive

the kingdom of God like a little child will not enter into it.

Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray as God's beloved children to whom the Kingdom of God belongs as Jesus taught....

Spiritual Communion

Lord Jesus, whom and through whom all things exist, we long to partake this day of the Sacrament of the Bridegroom and the Bride, in order to become “one flesh” with you and with our sisters and brother in one Body. You have brought many children to glory by inviting them into this holy Communion.  Consecrate us anew this day as faithful members of your Church, in which we all have one origin.  Remove from us any hardness of heart we have toward others and help us to live in such a way that we might be among those to whom the Kingdom of God belongs.



Communion Hymn (Marty Haugen)


Unless you learn to see as a little child, you will never see the reign of God.

Let your eyes be opened to the holiness in the simple and the small.

Come and learn from these little ones,

learn to see with the eyes of faith

 and you may see the reign of God in the simplest things of all.


Unless you learn to love as a little child, you will never touch the reign of God.

Let your heart be opened to the holiness in the simple and the small

All who welcome these little ones will be welcoming me indeed

and you may touch the reign of God in the gentlest touch of all.


Unless you learn to live as a little child you will never know the reign of God.

Let your lives be copies of the holiness in the simple and the small.

Come and learn to be little ones, learn to serve as the least of all,

and you may know the reign of God in the simple, humble call

and you may know the reign of God in the humblest ones of all.