Tue, 12 February 2019
(Gn.2:4-9,15-17; Ps.104:1-2,27-30; Mk.7:14-23)
“The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.”
In addition, “out of the ground the Lord God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food.” These would feed the body of the man. But only spirit feeds the soul.
Body and soul. They meet in man and become one, yet one is the cause of life while the other passes. When God formed man out of the clay of the ground, what He held in His hands was the body, and at the time it was dead. Not until He breathed into him did man become alive: in this breath he found his soul. And the time shall come when this form does rot, but not the soul. Only in heaven will we have bodies that live eternally with our spirits (though certain saints – as did our Blessed Mother – may know this holy union even here on earth.)
And so does Jesus tell us “that nothing that enters a man from outside can make him impure,” and, to make this point graphically clear, adds, “It does not penetrate his being, but enters his stomach only and passes into the latrine.” What is of the body is just so passing, and therefore of no consequence. It is “what emerges from within a man” that “makes him impure.” For sins such as “acts of fornication, theft, murder,” etc. are not the result of the food we eat, but of the thoughts in “the deep recesses of the heart.” These are what make a man impure – or, by contrast, which will make him pure. It is the soul that is capable of good or evil, not the body. And even though it is eating of the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and bad” that causes man’s downfall, this is not the result of the fruit itself, but of the covetousness and pride of man’s disobedience. It is the ‘eating,’ the desire of the eye and the heart and the act which follows, which constitutes the sin, and not the fruit eaten.
Our psalmist speaks of the body and soul as well. It is so that by the Lord we are “filled with good things,” that He gives us “food in due time,” food we need for our survival; but as the psalmist says of the soul, “If you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust.” How quickly we would die, in a moment or two, without the breath of God in our nostrils, without His Word to give us life. And what great care we should take of the spirit that enters our beings. May our souls ever be set upon our God and His teaching. May our every thought and word and action be of Him, that we shall never be disobedient. O Lord, “when you send forth your Spirit, [we] are created, and you renew the face of the earth.” Give us your divine breath of life in our nostrils this day.
O LORD, you make us of the clay of the earth,
but it is not the body that is of consequence
but the Spirit breathing within us –
let it be your own.
YHWH, it is you who make us of the clay of the ground and you who breathe the breath of life into our nostrils. It is you who feed us in both body and spirit – you are our LORD and God.
It is you who care for us each day, O LORD, you who send your Son to take away our sins. He reveals to us that it is not the flesh that gives life but the Spirit that is within; and He would cleanse us of all iniquity that we might stand as your sons always.
Though Jesus comes in the flesh and gives us of His flesh to eat, this food is not the passing kind but that which lasts unto eternal life. And so, LORD, we pray that we shall embrace Him and the Word, the Spirit, He imparts to us. Thus will we be raised from the dust of death, from the chains that bind us to this earth, and rise with Him unto Heaven.
Feed us with your Word, LORD, that we might be renewed and live forever in your Garden.