Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

(Genesis 8:6-13.20-22; Mark 8:22-26)

In the reading from Genesis Noah, after saving all types of animals, abruptly kills some for sacrifice. For this reason God pronounces the judgment, “…the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start.” However, if killing and eating animal flesh indicates human wickedness (it was not done before Adam and Eve’s sin), it at least will be controlled. Noah does not slaughter animals wholesale to make a sacrifice ever more pleasing to God.

When God establishes His covenant with Noah, about which we will read tomorrow at Mass, He will allow humans to eat the flesh of other animals, but always within limits. Humans will not be allowed to eat the blood of animals. Noah here is seeking a new relationship with the Lord through sacrifice as a sign of dependence while the justice ordained by the law will be God’s terms for a new relationship with humans.

Despite their sacrifices humans will have difficulty bowing their spirits to the Lord. They may even keep the law in practice, but they will deny its intent. Finally, however, the sacrifice of Jesus, the God-human, will gain for humans a lasting relationship with God. And the new law, which he gives as nothing less than the Holy Spirit working in human hearts, will produce true justice.