07Feb Monday in the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Gen 1:1ff. God creates light, the sky, the earth and the sun, the moon and stars, on the first four days of creation.

Mark 6:53ff. Wherever Jesus went, the sick were brought to him.Whoever touched him got well, due to the combination of his healing power and the sick person’s faith.

Where is the Real Sanctuary?

The reading from Genesis provides a wide-angle view of the universe, the real sanctuary or throne room for God’s majestic presence. The sacred ceremonies of the sanctuary – whether it be the Holy of Holies of the Jerusalem temple or the altar area of our churches with eucharistic table and tabernacle – lose their meaning if they lose contact with the physical world of earth and sky, or if they are no longer reminders of God’s redemptive acts, healing us in our sickness, forgiving us in our weakness, inspiring us with hope. At the same time, without sanctuary services and church liturgy we easily lose sight of the mysterious presence of God in our universe and in our daily secular living.

We can find other indications for worthy liturgy and faith-filled lives in the relationship of today’s readings: from Genesis and St Mark. Genesis declares clearly that the world where we look out to see the light of the sun and where our ears strain to hear melodies from the wind, is a world of beauty, indeed a sacred world. Each activity is a response to God’s word, “Let there be light… let there be a dome in the middle of waters called the sky… let there be luminaries in the dome of the sky.” The result of his creative word is always a delight for God.

In order that physical objects be reconsecrated they must be touched by the word of God and be obedient to the touch of Jesus, as in today’s reading from Mark. We are the instruments of God to cleanse and reconsecrate our good world. Our touch of kindness and love is the touch of Jesus; our word of forgiveness and encouragement is the word of God. Each touch heals; each word is creative. The liturgy then brings us to the heart of the mystery of our real world.

First Reading: Genesis 1:1-19

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights – the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night – and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

Gospel: Mark 6:53-56

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.