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May 26: St. Philip Neri, Priest

Reading James 5:13-20
Gospel Mark 10:13-16

“Let the children come to Me; do not prevent them....”

Today’s Gospel passage immediately follows yesterday’s in Mark. In yesterday’s passage Jesus spoke the truth that marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power, because through God’s power, husband and wife “are no longer two but one flesh” [Mk 10:8]. In today’s passage Jesus becomes indignant and declares: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Is it a coincidence that this passage immediately follows Jesus’ teaching about the sacred integrity of Marriage? The Church has taught for some two thousand years that openness to the begetting and rearing of children is integral to the growth of every marriage: the intentional exclusion of this goal dissolves the integrity of the particular marriage.

Some might say that these two Scripture passages should not be linked. Some might say that the point of today’s passage is that each Christian is called to be “child-like”. In any case, marriage between two persons truly in love with each other and with God will bear the innocence and love for life seen in the child-like.