Funeral Lectionary: Mark 10:13-16

Funerals of children, thank goodness, are rare. Don’t forget to turn the pages of the Order of Christian Funerals and find the selection of readings given for the tragedy of a young person’s death.

There is one Gospel passage that is assigned for the funeral of a baptized child, but isn’t given for the fineral of an adult. It also happens to be a passage used most frequently for infant baptism:

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 them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.

The funeral of a child. What a catastrophe! Even the reassurances of the Lord Jesus may fall on deaf ears in the anguish of friends and loved ones. Especially parents.

Hopefully the occasion of a child’s funeral is free from sentimental attempts at justification–the child is an angel in heaven now, God must have had a plan, she or he was too good to be left on Planet Earth.

To me the most moving portion of this reading is the final verse. Jesus embraced children in a society that placed little value on them. He blessed them with a laying-on-of-hands. Discipleship is the basic vector of a Christian, a person who has accepted the Kingdom of God. Perhaps this gesture of laying hands should be more widespread, especially with our chidlren.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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