The first reading tells us that God created us in his own image. Then, as in explanation of that, it says, “Male and female he created them.” That is saying that both masculinity and femininity echo God. In him they are blended. That makes a true marriage very God-like in that the two become one.
After each of the first five days of creation Genesis says, ”God saw how good it was.” After speaking of our creation Genesis went further, saying, “He found it very good.”
This Chapter Seven of Mark’s Gospel gives us a full explication of Our Lord’s attitude toward the precepts of the Jewish Law, which this Gospel speaks of as the “tradition of the elders.” Let’s look into those traditions.
In 445 b.c. Jerusalem was part of the Persian empire, and the emperor was disturbed over the city’s physical and moral collapse. The roads and walls were in disrepair, and crime was on the rise. The emperor sent two Jewish gentlemen, Ezra and Nehemiah, to come up with a plan for rectifying things. When they proposed making the Law of Moses the civil law for the city, Persia’s justices approved, with the condition that Jewish Lawyers would approve of amendments to bring the Law of Moses up to date. At that, the Jews came up with three amendments: 1. They would not buy produce brought in on the Sabbath. 2. They would not marry foreigners. 3. They would give a third of a shekel a year to the temple.
These new laws were called the Mishna, and they are what are called the traditions of the elders in today’s Gospel. They worked well. But, year by year over the next five centuries the Mishna were added to, becoming a legal burden that no one could bear.