Gn 2:4b-9, 15-17; Ps 104:1-2,27-30; Mk 7:14-23: As we look to the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, our hearts cry out with and for all creation: “O bless the LORD, my soul!” We behold with eyes of faith the true greatness of the LORD God. He is clothed with majesty and glory; we see Him robed in light as with a cloak. This light gives us wisdom to behold the truth of his bounty; with all creatures we expect Him to give us food in due time. This food is nourishment for our bodies and our souls. We gather up the food—every word that comes from the mouth of God. He opens His hands and his heart to us, and we are filled with good things. When He takes away the breath given to us we perish and return to the dust of the earth. Yet, the LORD breathes forth His Spirit and we have life eternal; the LORD renews the face of the earth. Indeed, He creates a new heaven and a new earth, and we join with all the angels and saints to cry out in the heavenly liturgy: “O bless the LORD, my soul!” Made in His own image and likeness; we share in the very delight of God’s own heart. Indeed, we delight in His Law that guides us throughout our journey of faith. As our gospel proclaims, even our hearts are made new and we give ourselves over to His Spirit living according to His Word.
For a person of faith this second story of creation provides an insight into relationship between the LORD and his creation. Over this creation the LORD God has pronounced repeatedly, “this is good” and even once the LORD cried out without hesitation, “this is very good.” This account of human creation invites us to ponder the tender closeness of our Creator. The Father doesn’t just speak and it happens; he formed man out of the clay of the ground. Then he blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being. These are the deeds of someone who gets involved and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. He is not unlike the gardeners in every generation of human history. Not only does he create man, the LORD also plants a wondrous garden in the east where he placed the man. This garden is full trees that provide fruit and shade for the man. This gift from out of nothing is now given to the man so that he might take part in cultivating and caring for his precious garden. Such co-responsibility gives gratitude and greatness to the human heart the Father has formed in his man. The only limitation commanded in this new creation was, “You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.” Now boundaries have been introduced in this relationship and expectations have arisen in this paradise. Many teach that children must have boundaries given by their loving parents or they never grow up. Without boundaries we do not know how loved we are. Our parents are only trying to protect and nurture us with their limitations to our freedom from the earliest days of our life in the garden we call home. We learn both from our obedience and our disobedience the hard and necessary lessons of love; the story unfolds.
The Lord Jesus educates the crowd about the difference between good and evil. He declared all foods clean when he taught them that only those things that come out of a person defiles. From within our hearts, from a place much deeper than our digestive systems, we have desires for unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, and folly. Good and evil are now presented by the Divine Teacher, the New Adam, as a matter of our interior world that we willingly impose our distorted desires upon the world and those who dwell there in. Now we are ready to learn about this danger. Now we are ready to learn how to grow in virtue, and how to uproot vice from the garden within. Now, our being unclean is not simply a ritual imperfection. We bring to light the true nature of our hearts by the fruit we bear in our everyday lives.