Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Memorial of Saint Scholastica (480 AD – 547ca), sister of Saint Benedict. With her we remember all women hermits and nuns together with all the women who follow the Lord.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Genesis 1, 20-2,4

God said, 'Let the waters be alive with a swarm of living creatures, and let birds wing their way above the earth across the vault of heaven.' And so it was.

God created great sea-monsters and all the creatures that glide and teem in the waters in their own species, and winged birds in their own species. God saw that it was good.

God blessed them, saying, 'Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas; and let the birds multiply on land.'

Evening came and morning came: the fifth day.

God said, 'Let the earth produce every kind of living creature in its own species: cattle, creeping things and wild animals of all kinds.' And so it was.

God made wild animals in their own species, and cattle in theirs, and every creature that crawls along the earth in its own species. God saw that it was good.

God said, 'Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild animals and all the creatures that creep along the ground.'

God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all the living creatures that move on earth.'

God also said, 'Look, to you I give all the seed-bearing plants everywhere on the surface of the earth, and all the trees with seed-bearing fruit; this will be your food.

And to all the wild animals, all the birds of heaven and all the living creatures that creep along the ground, I give all the foliage of the plants as their food.' And so it was.

God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good. Evening came and morning came: the sixth day.

Thus heaven and earth were completed with all their array.

On the seventh day God had completed the work he had been doing. He rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing.

God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day he rested after all his work of creating.

Such was the story of heaven and earth as they were created. At the time when Yahweh God made earth and heaven


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The second part of the creation first narrative culminates in God making man and woman, and establishing the Sabbath. In fact, the entire narrative leads up to this final part. When God is about to create human beings, he expresses the solemn decision in the plural “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness… So God created humankind in his image… male and female he created them.” We immediately note God’s choice: human beings carry God’s likeness and therefore great dignity; highlighting “male and female” together indicates a diversity and an equality (“man” in Hebrew is a term that refers not only to males but to all human beings drawn from the Earth). One could say that only together do they resemble God. Man does not exist alone and woman does not exist alone; one needs the other and the two together resemble God. The divine blessing maintains human beings in a special relationship with God. He allows them to have a dominion over creation, which is never absolute, as everything depends on God and not on them. The creation of human beings concludes with this statement: “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.” For the seventh time, God contemplates his creation and affirms that it is good. Only good, only life comes from God; evil comes from the evil one. God is so pleased with his creation of humanity that he says that “it was very good” and not just “good” as with his other works. God was not finished with creation after making man and woman; or better, the fulfilment of creation was the Sabbath: “And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it…” On the seventh day, God brings about three actions: first he completes creation, then blesses and consecrates the seventh day. What does this mean? Without the Sabbath, a day in which human beings recognize God’s creation and worship him, creation is not complete and something essential is missing. We understand the meaning of the Sabbath for the Jews and of Sunday for Christians: when men and women do not recognize the work of God and do not see his presence, something fundamental is missing to creation, and fullness cannot be reached. In short, men and women were not created to remain closed in on themselves, but they need to be open to God, to his time and to his design of love. This is the true reason for celebrating and praising God. This is why God not only blesses man and woman but also “hallows” the seventh day, thus making of it God’s day in human time.