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Nobody Puts God in a Corner

Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Sirach 17:1-15

God from the earth created man,
and in his own image he made him.
He makes man return to earth again,
and endows him with a strength of his own.
Limited days of life he gives him,
with power over all things else on earth.
He puts the fear of him in all flesh,
and gives him rule over beasts and birds.
He created for them counsel, and a tongue and eyes and ears,
and an inventive heart,
and filled them with the discipline of understanding.
He created in them knowledge of the spirit;
With wisdom he fills their heart;
good and evil he shows them.
He put the fear of himself upon their hearts,
and showed them his mighty works,
That they might glory in the wonder of his deeds
and praise his holy name.
He has set before them knowledge,
a law of life as their inheritance;
An everlasting covenant he has made with them,
his justice and his judgments he has revealed to them.
His majestic glory their eyes beheld,
his glorious voice their ears heard.
He says to them, “Avoid all evil”;
each of them he gives precepts about his fellow men.
Their ways are ever known to him,
they cannot be hidden from his eyes.
Over every nation he places a ruler,
but God’s own portion is Israel.
All their actions are clear as the sun to him,
his eyes are ever upon their ways.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 103:13-14, 15-16, 17-18

R. (see 17) The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him,
For he knows how we are formed;
he remembers that we are dust.
R. The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
Man’s days are like those of grass;
like a flower of the field he blooms;
The wind sweeps over him and he is gone,
and his place knows him no more.
R. The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
But the kindness of the LORD is from eternity
to eternity toward those who fear him,
And his justice toward children’s children
among those who keep his covenant.
R. The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

Gospel: Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing children to Jesus 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 the children and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.

NAB

In my Protestant high school youth group we made bracelets one evening to challenge our thinking on diversity. Our youth minister asked us a series of questions and then we strung a corresponding colored bead, symbolizing different ethnicities, on our strings. The questions were innocent enough: last person with whom you ate lunch, your best friend and the last phone call you made, among others. At the conclusion of the activity, I was horrified. I tried desperately to hide my almost completely white bracelet until I realized most everyone’s in the room looked the same.

Ten years later, as a volunteer youth minister, I repeated the activity with our youth group. But this time, the bead colors corresponded with different religions. As a convert to Catholicism, I immediately got questions from the teenagers on my multi-colored bracelet, compared to their uni-colored ones. They were so very intrigued how I could be Catholic and yet have so many friends and acquaintances who weren’t. My response was sincere: “I’m not from here.”

Had it not been for a long series of friendships and encounters with the Catholic faith throughout my childhood and college years, I might never have joined the Catholic church. Those friends—and that really cute boy with blue eyes—decided to take a chance on me. They decided to answer my questions about Catholicism, invite me into church to take part in the liturgy and encourage me to learn more. They gave me books and answers, led me to great priests and prayed with me.

How many times has a friend brought someone of a different faith, or no faith at all, into your inner circle and you rebuked them? You brushed them away as insignificant, like the disciples did to the children in today’s Gospel. Perhaps you deemed them not worthy? After all, they don’t fit the criteria of someone God could love. Have you seen their list of sins?

Don’t be so quick to tell God whom He can and can’t love. Sometimes, when you take a chance on love, God transforms your heart in a way that’s bigger than you can imagine.

Kathryn Whitaker and her husband, Scott, have 6 awesome kids, teen to toddler. She is a former public relations consultant turned freelance graphic designer, party planner, organizer, and preemie advocate who hails from the Lone Star state. You can find out more about her here.

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