Count Those Who Are Nothing in the Eyes of the World

by | Oct 2, 2018 | Formation, Reflections

Jesus is a stronghold for the oppressed.  He wants us to shield the helpless.  And he commands us to count those who are nothing in the eyes of the world.

One can suppose that women and children do not count in Herod’s world.  For he had no qualms about ordering the murder of boys, age two or younger, in Bethlehem and its vicinity.  One can assume, too, that the wailing and weeping of inconsolable mothers did not at all bother him.

The only thing that really bothered the king, apparently, was the thought that he could lose his throne.  It greatly troubled him and all Jerusalem.  Did the citizens count, then, on the king to spill out his anger, fear and insecurity in such an outrageous way?

Sadly, many mothers and children today continue not to count still because of people’s fears and insecurities.  Because of some rulers’ unquenchable thirst for power and greatness.  One has only to point to the separation of children from their mothers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Today, then, no less than yesterday, Jesus asks his followers to make sure that women and children count.  He is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters.  It is clear, that is, that all family members must be part of of the count.

Jesus does not want the hardness of human hearts to be the one to count.

Jesus, yes, sends us back to the beginning.  He wants what God has originally meant to rule the day.  So, he voids the law that says a husband can divorce his wife and throw her out.  The wife, in contrast, cannot do the same.  But God’s plan from the beginning is for man and woman to become one flesh.  Male domination has no place, then, in that plan.  He wants man and woman to share till the end a life of self-giving, without imposition or submission.  So, we have to understand, as did St. Vincent de Paul, that men and women are partners in the preaching of the Good News.

Jesus is sure to count children also.

It makes Jesus angry that his disciples are telling the children to go away.  In the mind of the disciples, perhaps, the children have nothing to add to the discussion at hand.

But Jesus lets the children come to him.  He affirms their worth and their embodiment of true acceptance of the kingdom of God.  And to drive his point home, he embraces the children and blesses them, placing his hands on them.  And so, those who burden themselves with abandoned children are true disciples (SV.EN XII:78)

Lord Jesus, you handed yourself over for us.  May we learn from you and be ready to give our bodies up and shed our blood for those who do not count in the eyes of the world.

7 October 2018
27th Sunday in O.T. (B)
Gen 2, 18-24; Heb 2, 9-11; Mk 10, 2-16