In the readings for Sunday, Oct. 7, God gives us pets, partners and a reminder that relationships are not disposable.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.”
May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”
Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
Today’s first reading picks up after God had given Adam all of creation. In particular, God gave the animals to be his companions. Pets are nice, and they can even be an important member of a family, but they’re not people. God knew that Adam needed a “suitable partner” for his life to feel fulfilled.
So, what is a suitable partner? We’ve ruled out puppies and kittens. … A suitable partner is one who is capable of being “one flesh.” That is loving the other as themselves, treating them with the dignity, respect and honor that they would want for themselves. A suitable partner fills the other’s life with love, support, joy. They are a partner. Mutually supportive and working toward the same goals, true partners share in one another’s successes and comfort one another in their failures or challenges. And they do it all together.
The second reading is a reminder that Jesus became one of us to redeem us and to give us the chance to know God so personally that we could imitate him and become more like him.
Our Gospel deals with a very sensitive issue: divorce. Like now, divorces in Jesus’ time were sometimes frivolous, and Jesus is warning us against seeing one another as disposable. In Jesus’ time, if a woman wasn’t attached to a man, she and her children were put in a very vulnerable position.
Jesus takes the children to himself to show that, although the culture saw them as property with very few rights, all people — especially the vulnerable — are loved and protected by God. He also gives us that beautiful teaching about how we should approach God. We should approach him as children who are open, dependent, without cares and trusting with our security and support to Our Father.
With whom do you love spending time? Why do you like being with them?
What qualities do you look for in a friend? What about a future marriage partner? What are the most important qualities to develop in a marriage?
If you are married, do you take care to be a suitable partner? What steps do you take to preserve your marriage and protect it? If you are single, in whom do you find a suitable partner? Who are the people in your life that offer you the support, love and comfort that keep you feeling fulfilled?
Do a few fun activities that involve partners, like relay races or Pictionary. Talk about the importance of working together and how effective you were when you were on the same page, versus how ineffective you were when you were working against one another.
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”