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Tuesday – Fifth Week – OT1
Readings: Gen 1:20 – 2:4; Mk 7:1-13.
1/ Reading I: NAB Genesis 1:20 Then God said, “Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky.” And so it happened: 21 God created the great sea monsters and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems, and all kinds of winged birds. God saw how good it was, 22 and God blessed them, saying, “Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth.” 23 Evening came, and morning followed– the fifth day. 24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds.” And so it happened: 25 God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. God saw how good it was. 26 Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.” 27 God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.” 29 God also said: “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; 30 and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food.” And so it happened. 31 God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed– the sixth day. 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. 2 Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation. 4 Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation. At the time when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens–
2/ Gospel: NAB Mark 7:1 Now when the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2 they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. 3 (For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. 4 And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles (and beds).) 5 So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” 6 He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 7 In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’ 8 You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” 9 He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’ 11 Yet you say, ‘If a person says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘ (meaning, dedicated to God), 12 you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. 13 You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”
Written by: Fr. Anthony Tien M. Dinh, O.P.
I. THEME: God created everything very good.
God is the Most Good; He created everything good and nothing He created is bad; but why are there evils in the world? One of the main reason is the abuse of human freedom which He bestows on the angels and the human beings
Today readings confirm God’s goodness and people’s abuse of freedom. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Genesis reported the last three days of God’s creation. On the fifth day, He creates all birds of the air and fish of the sea. On the sixth day, He creates cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds. The highest point of His creation is the creating of human beings according to His image and likeness. The author emphasized the fact that God saw everything He had created were very good and He blessed all of His creatures. In the Gospel, the Pharisees and the scribes accused Jesus’ disciples of violating the tradition of the elders because they didn’t wash their hands before eating their meal. Jesus clearly pointed out their sin, “You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
1/ Reading I: God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.
1.1/ The fifth day, God creates birds of the air and fish of the sea: If anyone follows the Discovery channel on television, he was certainly astonished about plants, birds of the air, fish of the sea and wild animals. They are so beautiful, have many different kinds and so useful for human beings. One thing startles us is that though they are food for others and human beings, they also are the unlimited source of food because of God’s blessing in today passage: “Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
1.2/ The sixth day, God creates cattle, animals and human beings: The creation of human beings is considered as the summit of God’s creation due to the following reasons:
(1) When creating all other things, God only needs to say “Be existed!” and they are. When creating human beings, God takes opinions of others who are with God in heaven by saying, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” The two nouns which the author used here are image and likeness. Image (selem) means an exact copy of the origin which is God; and likeness (demut) indicates a similarity or looking alike. Human beings are like God and have virtues which are similar to Him.
(2) Human beings have authority over all other creatures: Today passage clearly points out God’s purpose when creating human beings, “Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.” In the second account of creation, all animals are led to Abraham so he can name them, “whatever he called them, that are their names.” According to Jewish tradition, when one names a person, he has authority on that person.
(3) God creates the first family and blesses them: When creating other living animals, though the author didn’t mention their sex, but is assumed for the reproduction. When creating human beings, the author emphasized their sex, God’s command and blessing for their family, “Male and female he created them.God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.””
(4) All living things are created for human beings’ use: Not only people have authority on them, but they can also use them. God said: “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food.” And so it happened.God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.”
1.3/ The seventh day, God rests: God also creates this day for human beings with the purpose that human beings can rest with God. We need to pay a special attention why God created this day because it shall become the reason for many Jesus’ conflictions with the Pharisees and the scribes. The author wrote, “Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.”
2/ Gospel: “You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.”
2.1/ The Kosher law of the Jews: Anytime mentioned the Law, the Jews think of the Ten Commandments which God gave to them through Moses. Besides this Law, they also had other laws and the oral tradition. The oral tradition, after a period was kept by their forefathers, became laws and was written down some centuries before Christ’s appearance.
(1) What are considered impure by the Jews: There are many things which are regarded as impure by the Jews, such as: the mother who had just given birth to her child, lepers, dead bodies, Gentiles, and many impure vegetables and animals which are prohibited to eat. All the utensils that kept these vegetables and animals are also considered as unclean. When one touches these people or utensils, they also become unclean. Therefore, they had many laws that describe what are clean and unclean, and the laws to solve what are unclean.
(2) Unclean and sinful: To the Jews, impurity isn’t just as matter of sanitation, but of sin and law. Whoever violates the Law, he can be persecuted by the Law and sometimes by death.
2.2/ Jesus’ reactions: Jesus didn’t encourage people to eat food with unclean hands; but he wanted to show them of their excessive observation of impurity.
(1) To have a relationship with God or to observe outside laws? Religion essentially helps people to live their relationship with God, not to observe some ceremonies or outside laws. Jesus used Isaiah’s prophecy to accuse them: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, `This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'”
(2) God’s law must be regarded as more important than human law: Jesus gave them an example to show that they forfeited God’s law to keep their human law: “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!For Moses said, `Honor your father and your mother’; and, `He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die’;but you say, `If a man tells his father or his mother, what you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God) –then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on.”
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– God created everything good and puts them under human authority. We have a duty to protect everything according to God’s intention.
– God didn’t create evils; these evil things happen because of the devil’s temptation and human beings’ abuse of their freedom.