The Goodness of Creation and Greatness of Redemption, Fifth Monday (I), February 9, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
February 9, 2015
Gen 1:1-19, Ps 104, Mk 6:53-56

 

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • Today we begin a study of the beginning of the Book of the Beginning — Genesis — that will accompany us until Lent. It begins with a focus on the phases of Creation and how good it was. After the creation of light and its separation from darkness, after the creation of the sky and the earth, after the creation of the waters from land, after the creation of vegetation and fruit, after the creation of the Sun and the moon and the stars, Genesis says “God saw how good it was.” Tomorrow we’ll continue seeing this goodness in the creation of the creatures of the sea and the animals, which likewise were good, and arrive at the culmination of the human person whom God saw was “very good.” The goodness of creation leads us to exclaim in the Psalm, “May the Lord be glad in his works!” It ponders the earth, the ocean, the mountains, the streams, the wind, the mountains, the birds, the trees, and then exults, “How manifold are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you have wrought them all— the earth is full of your creatures; Bless the Lord, O my soul!” How important for us spiritually to enter into a hymn of praise for the essential goodness of creation.
  • In the Gospel, however, we see the breakdown. It’s a corruption of that goodness we’ll see on Friday with the account of the original sin and Eve and Adam. Even though creation was ontologically good, moral evil entered. And that brought about a disharmony that was never originally intended. It partially ruptured the communion that was meant to exist between creatures and God, between creatures and each other, and within creatures themselves. That breakdown caused by sin was the source of the introduction of illnesses and what they lead to, death. We get a glimpse of that pain and suffering in the Gospel. As Jesus disembarked in Gennesaret, “people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak.” Such enormous pain and suffering. It was like whole towns were hospitals. And they came to the Divine Physician. St. Mark tells us that as many as touched even the tassel of his cloak were healed.
  • Every Christmas morning we ponder that Jesus came into the world not just to restore the goodness of creation but to surpass it. In Latin, we pray, “Deus, qui humanae substantiae dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti et mirabilius reformasti,” which means, “O God, you who wondrously created the dignity of human substance and even more wondrously reformed it.” These are words that have traditionally been said by the priest quietly at Mass at the offertory as he prepares the chalice, as he prays that we might enter fully into that wondrous reform: “da nobis per hujus aquae et vini mysterium, ejus divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostrae fieri dignatus est particeps.” (“Grant us, by the mystery of this water and wine to become shares of the divinity of him who humbled himself to become a participant of our humanity.”).
  • That’s the way we’re called to pray the Mass. We come here praising the Lord’s wisdom in all his works. We sorrowfully call to mind the ways we and others haven’t lived up, in our thoughts, words, actions and omissions, to the dignity of our being created very good and beg his mercy, and then we come asking him to make us sharers in the recreation of redemption he came into the world to inaugurate. The offertory symbolizes what we do, taking the good fruit of the earth — grain and grapes — and subduing them by the work of human hands and offering them as the matter that he will take to work this miracle, taking what’s good and making it truly wonderful and the source of our continued redemption. Today we do more than touch the tassel of his cloak. We receive him fully within. May we indeed become sharers in the divinity of him we’re about to receive who out of love lowered himself to take on our humanity and take all our sins against the goodness of the created order away.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 Gn 1:1-19

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,
the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss,
while a mighty wind swept over the waters.Then God said,
“Let there be light,” and there was light.
God saw how good the light was.
God then separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”
Thus evening came, and morning followed–the first day.Then God said,
“Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters,
to separate one body of water from the other.”
And so it happened:
God made the dome,
and it separated the water above the dome from the water below it.
God called the dome “the sky.”
Evening came, and morning followed–the second day.

Then God said,
“Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin,
so that the dry land may appear.”
And so it happened:
the water under the sky was gathered into its basin,
and the dry land appeared.
God called the dry land “the earth,”
and the basin of the water he called “the sea.”
God saw how good it was.
Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth vegetation:
every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth
that bears fruit with its seed in it.”
And so it happened:
the earth brought forth every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth that
bears fruit with its seed in it.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed–the third day.

Then God said:
“Let there be lights in the dome of the sky,
to separate day from night.
Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years,
and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth.”
And so it happened:
God made the two great lights,
the greater one to govern the day,
and the lesser one to govern the night;
and he made the stars.
God set them in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth,
to govern the day and the night,
and to separate the light from the darkness.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed–the fourth day.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 104:1-2a, 5-6, 10 and 12, 24 and 35c

R. (31b) May the Lord be glad in his works.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
R. May the Lord be glad in his works.
You fixed the earth upon its foundation,
not to be moved forever;
With the ocean, as with a garment, you covered it;
above the mountains the waters stood.
R. May the Lord be glad in his works.
You send forth springs into the watercourses
that wind among the mountains.
Beside them the birds of heaven dwell;
from among the branches they send forth their song.
R. May the Lord be glad in his works.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you have wrought them all—
the earth is full of your creatures;
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Alleluia.
R. May the Lord be glad in his works.

Alleluia See Mt 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 6:53-56

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea,
Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret
and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country
and began to bring in the sick on mats
to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,
they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;
and as many as touched it were healed.