First Reading: Genesis 1:20–2:4
And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 8:4-9
When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him? Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor. Thou hast given him dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the sea.
Gospel: Mark 7:1-13
Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?” And he said to 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.’ You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “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, 13thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do.”
When I was a teenager I received a picture-a-day calendar of Hubble Telescope photographs. This was back in the day when the Hubble was cutting-edge and the images it was sending back were astonishing. I would keep my favorite pictures in a box; each new nebula and galaxy entranced me.
Every now and then I would try to imagine where I fit into all the vast beauty in space. Here I was, just this single little speck on a tiny plant rotating around a small star in a run-of-the-mill solar system in a rather unexciting galaxy. How on earth could I matter? To even venture a few miles above my head my own actions ceased to have any affect.
As I grew older I struggled with my faith as so many teenagers did. So many friends around me were losing their childhood beliefs in favor of more fashionable beliefs and many times I faltered. But my thoughts would often come back to that box of pictures from the depths of space and slowly I began to see something wonderful in those pictures.
Instead of feeling alone in the ever expanding cosmos, I felt special. I knew enough of science by then to understand that of all the things the atoms and molecules in my body could have become—from the largest nebula to a great star—these tiny little bits and pieces had formed, divided, split and stuck together to become me. Out of all the wondrous things in the universe to be a part of I still existed and by default I must be wondrous too.
Today the Psalmist asks, “When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?” There is nothing in creation that is not precious to God. Out of the finite materials in the universe God saw fit to create you, and what wonder you are.
Do you know you are special in God’s eye?
Molly Walter is a wife, mother and homemaker (with a pesky job outside the home). She shares about making the life she wants with the life she’s been given over here.