February 11, 2015 Genesis 2:4b-9, 15-17; Mark 7:14-23
World Day of the Sick:
O God, Everlasting Love, enfleshed in Christ Jesus, poured upon us through the Holy Spirit, we come to You (today, this evening, this morning . . .) to receive our prayer for those among us who are ill.
Tender, compassionate God, fill us that we may receive all who are ill with your love, we pray . . .
Life-giving God, fill us, that our faith will assure those who are suffering, that their pain will blossom into life, we pray . . .
Strength-giving God, pour into all who care for the sick, the embracing, enduring love of Jesus, we pray . . .
Source of Love, fill us with vision and courage to pursue research that will bear fruit in healing, we pray . . .
Welcoming God, receive from our hands the loved ones we return to you, we pray . . .
Righteous God, empower us to struggle against the injustices of the present health care systems, we pray . . .
O God, hear our prayer—these we have spoken and those yet in our hearts. We trust in your loving response, through Christ the Risen One. Amen.
Reading 1 Gn 2:4b-9, 15-17
At the time when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens—
while as yet there was no field shrub on earth
and no grass of the field had sprouted,
for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth
and there was no man to till the soil,
but a stream was welling up out of the earth
and was watering all the surface of the ground—
the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.
Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and he placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The LORD God then took the man
and settled him in the garden of Eden,
to cultivate and care for it.
The LORD God gave man this order:
“You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden
except the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
From that tree you shall not eat;
the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.”
Today the creation story continues and highlights the love God has for humankind. God spared nothing in creating us … He even shared His breath to bring us into being. What intimacy that portrays!
Not only that … but … God also created the perfect environment … the garden. It was delightful and filled with an abundance to enjoy.
There was just one restriction … stay away from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Well … we know what happens … lack of complete trust in God’s love brings on distraction and temptation. Losing the innocence and joy of living in God’s goodness … has grave consequences!
Gospel Mk 7:14-23
Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.”
When he got home away from the crowd
his disciples questioned him about the parable.
He said to them,
“Are even you likewise without understanding?
Do you not realize that everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
since it enters not the heart but the stomach
and passes out into the latrine?”
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
“But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”
We see distraction again … in today’s Gospel. The crowd and the disciples lost the sense of the spirit of their practices … and Jesus points out to them that these distractions and temptations come from within them … from within the heart.
Sinfulness comes when happiness is misconstrued and equated with things of the world … rather than the love of God within us.
In both readings … God is in the midst of His people … God is in our midst.
If our relationship with God is built on His presence in and among us … we will enjoy the happiness intended for us from the beginning.
May that breath of God that gives us life be our delight every day.