5th Week, Wednesday, Feb 10
Genesis 2:4-9, 15-17 / Mark 7:14-23
As yet there were no humans; So, God formed a man.
In one of his books, Dr. James Dobson cites an essay written by a third-grader. Called “What Is a Grandmother?” it makes delightful reading. Here are three excerpts from it. “Grandmothers don’t have to be smart, only answer questions like, ‘Why isn’t God married?’ and ‘How come dogs chase cats?’”“A grandmother is a lady with no children of her own.... She likes other people’s little girls and boys.” The third-grader concluded, saying, “Everyone should have a grandmother, especially if they don’t have TV.”
Do we hold people—especially the very young and the very old—in reverence as a sign of God’s creative love for us? “Age is a matter of mind; if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Author unknown
After the creation poem of Gen 1, we get a second version of the creation, especially of the Earth Man (Adam, drawn from adamah, earth) in a down-to-earth story. The human person breathes with the same life-giving breath (spirit, ruah) as God, at least in the sense that he or she has to breathe at the same rhythm as God. Then the human person is placed in a royal garden, paradise, to cultivate it.
Divided, too, were the hearts of the Pharisees, as Jesus points out in the gospel; their interior attitude did not correspond to their outward practices. The question of pure/impure was very important for the early Church, as it was one of the strongest traditions of the Jews and a point of contention for them. Hence, the Christians coming from Jewry asked themselves whether they could eat from the same table with non-Jews. According to Mark, in the light of creation that sees all foods as created good and pure, in the kingdom the rules about food are abolished.
In the Bible, the verb "to eat" has a deeper meaning than just consuming food. To eat can mean to be in communion with another person or persons, or to be in an intimate relationship with someone. So, for the Jews, who they eat with is significant and important. Another meaning of the verb "to eat" can also mean to know, or to have knowledge of something or someone.
For the Jews, they had a long-standing tradition of what is ritually clean and unclean foods. So when Jesus said that nothing goes into a man from outside can make him unclean, he actually knocked away one of the pillars of their cultural and religious tradition.
On the other hand, Jesus connected the act of eating with the knowledge of what is sin. Similarly, in the 1st reading, God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
When we sin, we eat of the fruit of evil and our hearts become filled with evil, and death and destruction happen from within.
In the Eucharist, we gather to partake of Jesus, who is the Bread of Life so as to be in communion with Him. May we be filled with the life of the Spirit so that we will speak words of love that will give life to others.
Opening PrayerFather, God of the ever-new covenant, you have tied us to yourself with leading strings of everlasting love; the words you speak to us are spirit and life. May your Spirit make us look at the commandments not as a set of observances. May they move us to serve you not in a slavish way, but as your sons and daughters who love you and whom you have set free through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen