Memorial of Saint Scholastica, virgin
(Genesis 1-20-2:4a; Mark 7:1-13)
The vegan diet is becoming increasingly popular. It consists of a well-rounded selection of only vegetable products which means no animal flesh, milk or eggs. Unsurprisingly, it has proved to be healthier than omnivorous regimes. Veganism may sound like a new fad, but its roots can be found in Genesis as the first reading today shows.
The reading focuses on God’s creation of human beings. It says that they are given plants and fruits for food. Regarding animals, the reading implies that humans are to use them in cultivating the earth. If Genesis is part etiology explaining the origin of human customs, how is it that humans eat the meat of animals? Somewhat later in the narrative Genesis shows God expanding the human diet with the covenant with Noah. It is not that humans suddenly merit steaks and pork chops, quite the contrary. It is because God recognizes their penchant for violence. Somewhat like Jesus will say about divorce, it is only out of the hardness of their hearts that God permits humans to eat meat.
It would be good if we adopt a vegetarian diet or, at least, eat less meat. But even more importantly, let us strive to imitate Jesus. He has renewed our hearts so that we might live in peace with all creation.