February 11, 2019
by George Butterfield
Creighton University's School of Law Library - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 329

Genesis 1:1-19
Pslams 104:1-2a, 5-6, 10 and 12, 24 and 35c
Mark 6:53-56

Praying Ordinary Time


There is a scene in the movie, Brother Sun and Sister Moon, where Pope Innocent III speaks with Francis of Assisi. In the movie the pope says to the future saint (I am paraphrasing) that we have spent so much time focusing on original sin that we can easily forget original goodness. I was reminded of this scene while reading today's first reading from Genesis which includes the first four days of creation.

God decides to create. To do this, he only needs to speak the word. Then, after the creation occurs, it's as if he stands back, looks at his creation and says, "Man, that is good!" It reminds me of children at play, using sticks and stones to build things, and then having fun with their creation. The joy comes from taking a bunch of scraps and seeing what can be done with them. The first verses of Genesis 1 speak of the earth as a formless wasteland where darkness covered the abyss. God decides to see what he can do with it. He orders, organizes, gathers, and shapes the formless stuff into something nothing short of magnificent. He loves every minute and pronounces his creation good. Our translation does a good job with this emphasis. It's not simply that he thinks his creation is good. He sees just "how good it was."

The psalm for today includes parts of Psalm 104. Do yourself a favor: pick up your Bible and read all of it. What a magnificent psalm it is. The psalmist calls upon his inner being to bless the Lord. God is so great; his robe is majesty, glory, and light. God organized everything so that it works together beautifully. The earth and the ocean each have their place. The fuller reading of the psalm really emphasizes how everything has its own role but complements the rest of creation. For example, God places birds in the sky but then also gives them branches from which they can send forth their song. What would the birds do without branches? God takes care of the seemingly insignificant parts of his world. He sees it all and says, "Man, that's good."

In the Gospel reading we see the creative power of God at work in Jesus. Jesus is a human being so, like his disciples, he gets tired and has times when he tries to get away from the crush of people who want his attention. However, they always seem to find him. They want to hear from him and they want to be cured of their illnesses or bring their relatives and friends to be healed. Jesus cannot speak to everyone or lay hands on everyone. The people discover, though, that this is not necessary. "If only we can touch the tassel on his cloak...." And all who touch it are healed. Jesus frequently got angry when he saw how illness or demonic possession could twist a human being into knots and make their lives miserable. When the people are healed, I see Jesus, just like in creation, standing back and saying, "Man, that is good." It's as if the Gospel writers are saying, Let me show you just how good God and his work is.

The evening and the morning are filled with the goodness of God.

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