by Erik Ritland
The Word and the Church
Bible commentary following the Catholic Lectionary (which gives an overview of the entire Bible) by the Fully Alive staff
Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
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Mk. 10: 13-16
Two sacraments are mentioned in today’s first reading from St. James: anointing of the sick (“Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters (ed.: priests) of the Church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord” (5:14-15)) and confession (“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (5:16ab)).
Jesus promised that he would not leave the Church as orphans but would send them the Holy Spirit to guide them (see John 14:15ff), a promise he fulfilled on Pentecost. This same Holy Spirit guided the Church as the sacraments continued to evolve into the form we have today, but the foundation of each is clearly referenced in the scriptures, as they are here.
Children are precious in the eyes of God. Only shortly after Jesus put a child in the disciples' midst as an example of servanthood and leadership (9:33ff) he makes another startling claim: “whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” This does not mean blind faith or lack of knowledge but innocence, trust, and love. We are to love God as a child loves a parent, with great joy and without reserve.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician. He is the lead staff writer and podcast host of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, which features commentary on music, sports, and an intellectual ragbag. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blogs Curious North and Hometown Hustle. Reach him via email.
Erik Ritland received his MA in Theology in 2017. He's the founder and content manager of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, copy editor and writer for Music in Minnesota, and an acclaimed songwriter.