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God commands the people of Israel to keep the lamps that stand in front of the Tabernacle burning continuously. This is a sign of God’s presence among His people.

God also sets the standards of behaviour that are to be observed by His people. The punishment for blasphemy is death which seems rather harsh. However, if we do not have respect for our creator God, then it is unlikely that we will have respect for any kind of authority on earth.

We note in this passage the requirement to establish a year of jubilee in the 50th year, starting on the Day of Atonement. This is deemed years of holiness when no crops are to be planted as the people are taught to trust in the benevolence of God.

Pope Benedict has proclaimed a Year of Faith commencing in October 2012 and there will be many opportunities for us to grow in holiness, re-kindle our faith and most importantly to pass that faith onto the next generation.

Sadly, fewer children are celebrating Mass with us in our parishes – I wonder if this is because they feel unwelcome, side-lined or simply have no understanding of what is happening in Mass.

Jesus made it abundantly clear when the disciples prevented children from coming to him for a blessing: “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”

Let us pray that the Year of Faith will see an increase in children and young people at Mass and let’s ensure they receive a warm welcome, opportunities to share in the Liturgy of the Word for Children and to contribute to the Mass by choosing hymns, serving, reading and ministering as Jesus would have expected.

Scripture: Leviticus 24:1-25:46; Mark 10:13-31; Psalm 44:9-26; Proverbs 10:20-21