JAMES 5: 13 – 20
Beloved: Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit. My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 141: 1 – 3, 5 (R/.) 2a.
R/. O Lord, let my prayer be accepted as incense before you.
I have called to you, Lord;
hasten to help me!
Hear my voice when I cry to you.
Let my prayer be accepted as incense before you,
the raising of my hands like an evening oblation. R/.
Set, O Lord, a guard on my mouth;
keep watch at the door of my lips!
To you my eyes are turned, O Lord, my Lord.
In you I take refuge; spare my soul! R/.
Matthew 11: 25.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.
MARK 10: 13 – 16
At that time: They were bringing children to Jesus, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.
The Gospel of the Lord.
[10:25 PM, 2/25/2022] Tk: REFLECTION: The Need for Healthy Human Affection
February 26, 2022
“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.
Most pure 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.