Commentary on the Gospel of
Though he is well-known, I have never made my way around to reading any works by G.K. Chesterton. However, I have heard that he masterfully explores the paradoxes alive in the Christian faith. I think of Jesus being both shepherd and the Lamb of God, for example. These titles seem to contradict one another and yet speak to a deeper truth.
Today's readings uncover two truths about us that also seem to me (at first) as though they do not belong together: that we are jointly called to be collaborators of God in creation, but also to be humble. The first seems to raise us up in importance; the second, to bring us down. In the second chapter of Genesis (First Reading) we hear how God uses Adam to create Eve as God took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. Just as with Adam, God invites us to share with him in the ongoing work of creation. God has created all things, as Genesis teaches us, and yet he invites us to help him manifest what he has created in unique ways. While a mother and father are integral to the creation of a new human life, they could not achieve this themselves. They create in collaboration with God. While Beethoven wrote his 9th symphony with its rich 4th movement (containing the well-known Ode to Joy), he did not create sound, notes or melody on his own. Rather, he discovered a way to uniquely manifest these elements that God had already created into a beautiful symphony. Creating with God is lofty work!
Yet, today's reading from Mark reminds us to be humble. As the Gentile woman fell at Jesus' feet begging his help, she did so with the humility of likening herself to a dog seeking but the scraps from the table. This humility, this faith, saves her child from the unclean spirit. As we collaborate with God in the ongoing work of creation, we must do so humbly. And why? Because as Moses did not himself reach the promised land, his collaboration with God was in service of a vision that was God's and that was far bigger than him. Likewise, in the words of John Henry Newman, [God] has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next...
So I ask myself, am I being a collaborator of God today? Am I being an instrument of his ongoing work of creation? Am I doing so with humility? This is important work to which we are called, and we must go about it humbly.