Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 1:20-2:4a; Mark 7:1-13)
A number of years ago people started talking about producing a square tomato. They said it would be easier to pack and ship. Agriculturalists took up the challenge with some success. Today there are tomatoes that are less rounded, but they are mainly used for processing. Scientists have more critical projects to work on. In doing so, they respond to God’s mandate in today’s first reading.
Genesis pictures humans as the epitome of creation. After God creates the material universe, He sets the earth aglow with life. First plants then fish and birds followed by land animals inhabit land, sea, and sky. Finally, God creates men and women in His image. In a sense they are like God because He has granted them dominion over the other creatures. They are to develop what God has made. But a definite responsibility is implied with this authority. As they are given only plants to eat, humans may use animals for labor but are not to kill them for food.
Eventually, God conceded that humans may eat the flesh of animals. But we must take care not to abuse God’s grant of dominion. We do not have a right to squander natural resources. Nature was created for us to use, to perfect, and to preserve. God never intended that it be polluted and destroyed. Where this has already been done, humans have the responsibility to restore nature as best we can.