Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Then God Said: "Let Us Make Man In Our Own Image, After Our Likeness."

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Genesis 1:20-2:4a
God said,
“Let the water teem
with an abundance of living creatures,
and on the earth let birds fly
beneath the dome of the sky.”
And so it happened:
God created the great sea monsters
and all kinds of swimming creatures
with which the water teems,
and all kinds of winged birds.
God saw how good it was,
and God blessed them, saying,
“Be fertile, multiply,
and fill the water of the seas;
and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
Evening came, and morning followed
– the fifth day.

Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth
all kinds of living creatures:
cattle, creeping things,
and wild animals of all kinds.”
And so it happened:
God made all kinds of wild animals,
all kinds of cattle,
and all kinds of creeping things of the earth.
God saw how good it was.

Then God said:
“Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness.
Let them have dominion
over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures
that crawl on the ground.”

God created man in his image;
in the divine image he created him;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and all the living things
that move on the earth.”
God also said:
“See, I give you
every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it
to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land,
all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures
that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food.”

And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made,
and he found it very good.
Evening came, and morning followed
– the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth
and all their array were completed.
Since on the seventh day God was finished
with the work he had been doing,
he rested on the seventh day
from all the work he had undertaken.
So God blessed the seventh day
and made it holy,
because on it he rested
from all the work he had done in creation.

Such is the story of the heavens
and the earth at their creation.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 8
R. O Lord, our God,
how wonderful your name in all the earth!
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you set in place  —
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God,
how wonderful your name in all the earth!
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule
over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
R. O Lord, our God,
how wonderful your name in all the earth!
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God,
how wonderful your name in all the earth!
+++    +++    +++    +++
Mark 7:1-13
When the Pharisees with some scribes
who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus, they observed
that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things
that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs
and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow
the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment
but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside
the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more
for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition
that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”
St. Josephine Bakhita
(c. 1868-1947)

For many years, Josephine Bakhita was a slave but her spirit was always free and eventually that spirit prevailed.

Born in Olgossa in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, Josephine was kidnapped at the age of seven, sold into slavery and given the name Bakhita, which means fortunate. She was re-sold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan.

Two years later he took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice's Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptized and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine.

When the Michielis returned from Africa and wanted to take Mimmina and Josephine back with them, the future saint refused to go. During the ensuing court case, the Canossian sisters and the patriarch of Venice intervened on Josephine's behalf. The judge concluded that since slavery was illegal in Italy, she had actually been free since 1885.

Josephine entered the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa in 1893 and made her profession three years later. In 1902, she was transferred to the city of Schio (northeast of Verona), where she assisted her religious community through cooking, sewing, embroidery and welcoming visitors at the door. She soon became well loved by the children attending the sisters' school and the local citizens. She once said, "Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!"

The first steps toward her beatification began in 1959. She was beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.

Josephine's body was mutilated by those who enslaved her, but they could not touch her inner spirit. Her Baptism set her on an eventual path toward asserting her civic freedom and then service to God's people as a Canossian sister.

She who worked under many "masters" was finally happy to address God as "master" and carry out everything that she believed to be God's will for her.

During his homily at her canonization Mass in St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul II said that in St. Josephine Bakhita, "We find a shining advocate of genuine emancipation. The history of her life inspires not passive acceptance but the firm resolve to work effectively to free girls and women from oppression and violence, and to return them to their dignity in the full exercise of their rights."

Saint of the Day
American Catholic.org

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