June 19, 2006

Land

Today's first reading is quite a lurid tale. Ahab the king tries to trade for or buy the vineyard of his neighbor, Naboth. Naboth refuses the offer. Seeing that her husband is depressed over not being able to acquire the vineyard, Jezebel intrigues with Naboth's neighbors to have him falsely accused and stoned to death. With Naboth dead, Ahab takes the vineyard.

Why did Naboth refuse Ahab's offer? The king offered him money or even a better vineyard in trade. It seems like a fine offer. The problem is that the land was given and apportioned to the Israelites by God, and was not to be traded lightly. YHWH himself had decided who was to have what piece of land.

This is perhaps hard for us to understand, we who are formed to see the earth and the goods of creation as commodities to be used, traded, and taken advantage of. We must learn instead to look at creation as a place of revelation, more to be appreciated and reverenced than bought, sold, and used. When we read the "book of creation" rightly we can begin to see the vestigia, or "footprints" of the Creator.

Creation is not just the creation of the heavens and the earth, as a place for God to act and for us and other creatures to live. Creation is first of all the creation of a people. God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, put them into the promised land, and made them into a people of God. In just the same way the Resurrection of Christ creates a new land into which the new Israel is planted.

1 comment:

Paula said...

Looking forward for tomorrow´s reading.There is more from the story.
I like your comment.
The new movie about global warming (An Incovenient Truth) show the consequences of not respecting God´s creation.