God is Good!

by Susanna Mak
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Genesis 2:18 - 24

Hebrews 2:9 - 11

Mark 10:2 - 16

When we think of the greatest inventions of the world, some may say insulin, electricity, the combustion engine, wind turbines, solar panels, computers, fibre optics; perhaps sliced bread or the zipper. What about creation itself? Human ingenuity is, indeed, only a pale reflection of our Creator’s imagination and vision! This week’s readings reveal the unfathomable depth of God’s love for all creation and remind us of the intimate relationship between creation and Creator, genuine relationships among humanity, and the mysterious relationship between Christ and the Church. “Creation is the foundation of ‘all God's saving plans,’ the ‘beginning of the history of salvation’ that culminates in Christ. Conversely, the mystery of Christ casts conclusive light on the mystery of creation and reveals the end for which ‘in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’: from the beginning, God envisaged the glory of the new creation in Christ" (CCC 280).

Like many, I love nature and enjoy spending time outdoors; trekking through the beauty of each season. Each blade of grass and cluster of wild flowers; each tree and shrub; birds, bees, and butterflies; everything that walks, crawls, or slithers on land; everything that swims in the waters; all sings of God’s glory in each of their unique ways. Everything works according to the Creator’s design and each supports and sustains each other without interruption. Indeed, God is good! It is God’s will to reveal Himself to us through creation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will” (CCC 51). God, who lovingly creates this beautiful world, not only invites us to enjoy it but also bear witness “to his almighty love and his wisdom, the first proclamation of the ‘plan of his loving goodness’, which finds its goal in the new creation in Christ” (CCC 315). Genesis’ creation story reveals that God also wants “man” to participate in the creative process. God asks “man” to name “all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all wild animals”, “whatever the man called each of them would be its name” (Gn 2:19-20). By partaking in the creative process “man” (humanity) is also called to be steward of God’s creation. However, “the man” cannot possibly accomplish such a feat alone. God recognizes that “man” needs a “suitable partner”, “woman” who is “bone of [his] bones and flesh of [his] flesh” (Gn 2:20-21). The creation story, therefore, underscores our vocation to care for creation and each other. God said, “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" (Gn 1:28). “Dominion”, though literally means power and authority; however, it is also a reminder of our responsibilities to care for creation and each other, like a patient gardener tending to and nurturing all that is in their charge.

Though creation is created to be harmonious and good, discord happens when we are not in good relationship with God, each other, or creation. The Pharisees’ challenge to Jesus regarding the question of divorce, portrayed in the Gospel of Mark, reveals the hardness of the human heart; a heart that is obstinate and proud. While Moses’ law has made a provision for divorce, Jesus argues that this is only written “because of the hardness of your hearts” (Mk 10:5). So, referring to Genesis, Jesus affirms that “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate" (ref. Gn 2:24, Mk 10:9). More importantly, the marital relationship between spouses points us to the intimate relationship between Christ and the Church. Jesus is the spouse and head of the Church. Just as husband and wife love, care for, respect, and even sacrifice for each other, Christ willingly offers himself, once and for all, to “reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross" (Col 1:20). Jesus, "for a little while" was made ‘lower than the angels’ that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Heb 2:9). Further, St. Paul explains, “For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body. 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church" (Eph 5:29-32).

God of wisdom and all that is good, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me” (Ps 51:10). When our eyes are blinded by greed and arrogance, and our heart clogged with pride, shine your light upon us and show us your mercy and unconditional love. Heal our broken relationships - with you, each other, and the earth. Refresh our spirit so that we may glorify you in all we do and in unison with all of your creation. Send forth your Spirit to guide us onto the right path towards healing and reconciliation. Amen.