Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

(Genesis 1:20-2:4a; Mark 7:1-3)

The section from Genesis read today at mass today places land animals in the center of the animal kingdom. They are made after the birds and the fish and before humans. For this reason, they have been called God’s “middle children” with the chore of resolving the controversies which arise among fish and fowl -- their tougher siblings – and the more spoiled peoples of the earth with their parent, God.

Yet humans who, created in the image of God, should know better too often mistreat animals. It is not that we eat their flesh that cries for attention but that we demean them in the process. Chickens (which, of course, are fowl) often do not see the light of day. Cattle are not allowed to pasture as evolution (we might say, “God”) designed them. Then the numerous accounts of animal abuse from training them to mutilate one another to pure cruelty from not feeding call into question humans’ elevated status.

God gave us animals to use, not to abuse. Indeed, He also gave us the Sabbath so that we might contemplate His bounty and respond with gratitude. Animal activists for all the blabber about “rights” have, at least, made us aware of our rapaciousness. Treating not only dogs and cats but cows and chickens with more care should enhance our appreciation for God.