Monday of the fifth week in ordinary time

Genesis 1.1-19; Psalm 103.1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 24 & 35 (LXX); Mark 6.53-56

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. and the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. (Gen 1. 1-3)

He established the earth upon its foundations,
So that it will not totter forever and ever.
Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters were standing above the mountains. (Ps 104. 5-6)

And wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and entreating Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured. (Mk 6. 56)

.  .  .

The logical New Testament passage to be added here is Colossians 1, especially vv. 16-17: ‘For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and one earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together’.

A few months ago, I heard a lecture on theology and creation by a professor who is both a theologian and a scientist. The laws of physics, he explained, can tell us how the universe developed from the tiniest fraction of a second after its actual beginning. At that point (10 to the -42 of a second), though, the laws of physics break down. I thought, yes, but the ‘law’ of Colossians 1.17 still holds: ‘in Him all things hold together’.

Two things in the readings for today are noteworthy, and take that idea a step further. First, Psalm 103 suggests that any interpretation of Genesis 1 that implies that ‘stuff’ was already there for God to shape and order misses the point: God covered the earth ‘with the deep as with a garment’. All that was ‘already there’ in the beginning was God. Second, there is a connection between the creation and the curing: the arrangement of these readings together points us to the identity of Jesus with the Creator, an identity made more clear by the verses from Colossians. The One who created and sustains all things can set things right.

I long to be in those crowded streets, close enough to touch the fringe of his cloak, so that all that’s out of kilter with me might be set right. But my healing has to come another way, through the Scripture, which teaches me, and the sacraments, by which He touches me still.

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