The first readings of the past few days have continued with that story of creation from Gn 1:20—2:4a Genesis, and the Gospel readings have included several encounters with the Pharisee’s regarding the law; first eating with unwashed hands and then Christ defining what defiles Mk 7:14-23 a person. From the Genesis story, again there is obvious statement of who created the world, and the statements of purpose, and that God saw that it was good. Within the arguments of the Pharisees is the duty to uphold both law and tradition, Jesus of course in his rebuttals challenges both. He asks why a person should observe the laws of man, when the creator of those laws slight the laws of God. That slighting of laws is particularly interesting. Jesus brings up the example of “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’Mk 7:1-13 and that practice was dedicating something to God in order to work around one of the laws. In modern terms it was that all to common practice of exploiting loopholes in laws.
I have to think that the foundation of Jewish law, a law that the Pharisees are part of the tradition of, was to follow the commandments of God. I can be certain those laws were formed out of their knowledge of their creator, and were based in part on a knowledge of the natural world that is Gods creation. They saw all that was created by God and saw that it was good, to paraphrase Genesis. Of course along with keen observations of nature, they also had insight into mans habit of stumbling.(Gn 2:4b-9, 15-17) Their exodus was not just to get back to nature, but to get away from a sinful nature of man and return to their God. Add too they recorded their own follies, and recorded those lessons learned into their laws. They were well aware of the exodus from the Garden of Paradise and its cause.
Somewhere along their journey though, laws stopped being written through an observance of Gods laws, but began to be written to serve their own purposes. Largely the Pharisees purpose was nationalism, but every generation has their own reasons for creating laws. Those reasons bluntly are not always written with a focus on God, or through any observation of Gods creation. My argument for the reason and methods of formulating Jewish law is clumsy and full of loopholes and fallacies, but I ramble about it with a purpose. That purpose is to contrast the absolute beauty of Gods creation against the ugly politics of promulgating laws and public policy. As Jesus argues Mk 7:1-13 against ritual purity or dietary laws as they relate to an obedience to God, we can argue our laws towards the poor, our rewriting of marriage laws, our warping of the structure of society through the promotion of homosexuality, our laws regarding youth, elders, education and healthcare, our laws regarding the interactions between nations, laws regarding immigration and migration of workers, and the list goes on.
What are our reasons for advocating a law? Is it through a fidelity to God, or is God to be dismissed from all legal considerations? Is it though keen observation, or through an observation of history and growth in wisdom? Is it influenced through campaigning, through popular vote, are laws bought by fortunes made in industry? I still see that beauty of creation, I can also see an ugliness creeping into society. When Jesus heals a person, sometimes his healing is directed at a personal frailty of an individual. Many times though His healings are aimed at correcting illness that are related to the flaws in the society itself. Those flaws are often highlighted when Jesus confronts the Pharisees and their laws, or when He aids an outcast who is suffering under those laws. Many times the Pharisees address law and tradition as if they are written by God, when in truth they are advanced to serve mans foolish needs. Not all that is legal is moral or righteous. Many times they are not.
I think of laws being advanced today that are so in conflict with Christ’s Church. I think also how they are advanced, through political action committees and donors with big pockets and big agendas. Do they advance Gods laws, or simply the lobbyists own desires? I think of this as I think of Jesus addressing the Pharisees concerning the politics of that time. I also wonder how Jesus would argue with the political parties of our time. I wonder again about which direction His modern disciples would take. Do they favor the progressive laws of society, or contemplate the words of Christ. Do they travel back to paradise or move in an opposite direction? Now, to go back to the beginning of my thoughts on Christ’s healing.
Today when Jesus heals a man Mk 7:31-37 he goes through a bizarre step of interactions. First he draws away from the crowd, second he stick his fingers in the mans ears (weird!) and then he grabs his tongue. Why, but why!. Think for a moment, the man has trouble speaking. What is required for speech? It is hearing and then vocalizing. Jesus touches both organs required for speech. First that which is learned, and second that which is proclaimed. Ears, and tongue. There is more though as those two things are in the possession of the man. For Jesus he must draw the man aside, he must move to a different place. No longer can God address mans needs from a distant location, God must enter into creation. For Jesus that means that he must physically be able to touch man, to physically interact with them. And God became man.
That then gives reason as to why the Christ entered into creation, it was to reverse that exodus from the Garden of Paradise, to restore that true order of creation. It was to heal the wounds of sin and to bring Gods people(all people) Mk 7:24-30 back to God. This healing then , and that dialogue with the Pharisees do indeed relate bank to that story of Genesis. It is about the restoration of creation after mans fall. This is a ramble of course. Disconnected and disjointed, it is a preliminary draft and unedited to give a glimpse of why the Son of God entered into creation, and it does relate to that story of Genesis, it is about correcting mans fall, his stumble, and his exodus. I hope you understand