Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Keep Your Heart Close To God

February 8, 2010
Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

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: God created the great sea monsters … 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: 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. … God blessed (Man and woman), 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.”
(Genesis 1:20-21, 24-25, 27-28)

(Jesus) 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; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’ You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” (Mark 7:6-7)

Take Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will.
You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to your divine will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
With this I am rich enough and I have no more to ask.
St. Ignatius of Loyola

Great sea monsters, creeping things, living things that move on the earth. These passages from Genesis are so full of vivid, vibrant images that they enchant me. There is jubilance to them; did the writers of the story seek to impart the wonder and pleasure of this innocent, sensual process? They did a lovely job conveying an ultimately mysterious process which we call creation. It amazes me that humans spend so much time arguing over the authenticity and scientific basis for Genesis. Did God create the world in seven days or did God create the primordial processes which “Banged” at a specific moment in time and began the formation of stars, worlds and humans? It seems to me that the research is interesting but loses some of the joy and awe which the Genesis writers captured. (Although if you listen to many physicists, they sense awe even as they delve into the sub molecular or the galaxy clusters at the far end of the universe.)

And then there is that whole thorny question of “dominion.” We continue, after millennium, to argue debate and often confuse the idea that we have complete rights to all the earth’s resources rather than following God’s instruction to safe keep God’s creation.

In the Gospel, Jesus is again baited by the Pharisees. He reminds them that God’s commandment is at the core. Jesus gives us the fundamental good news: God wants our hearts to be close to God. I, for one, think that God wants us to rejoice in Him, joyfully live within the beauty of creation rather than distract with other ideals even if they be laws which are written “for the good of man”. Close to God we are close to each other as brothers and sisters. Close to God we can always be within God’s heart even during the tragedies or dark places of our lives.

We are no longer in Eden. It’s pretty apparent everyday. But what beauty, freshness, and innocence do we miss everyday because we are too aware of potholes, burdensome laws, insufficient social systems, wars, mud slides, cyclones, ice storms that inconvenience or hurt us? Read the story of creation again. Where can you find creation in your everyday?