One new thing I learned this week: God spits.
Ok, that’s not really new, b/c I have noticed that in the gospel for years. But the new tidbit is this: that Jesus spitting in the Gospel would have triggered a recollection from Genesis of God creating Adam.
Genesis 2:7 reads: “Then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
The verb ‘formed’ is a word that means forming and molding with clay like a potter. However dust is dry and would thus resist being formed and holding a shape. What I learned is that, at the time of our Lord, there was a Jewish tradition that God used spit to moisten the dust, and form Adam. Ahhhhh…..
In Mark and John’s gospels, when Jesus uses spit and dirt to form clay, for healing, evoking the Father’s creative power in healing and restoring what has been damaged by sin. We will read one of the accounts from Mark’s gospel (Mk 7:31-37) this coming Labor Day weekend.
Until recently, this was repeated in the Right of Baptism. Most of you older than 50, were baptized in the old latin rite. The priest had to touch the infant’s ears and mouth with his spit! I once did a baptism in the old rite and I thought, “really? gross!” Can’t say I’d be excited to see that make a comeback in the CoronaVirusAge. But it now makes much more sense as a constant thread from the act of creation in Genesis, through the miraculous healings of our Lord, to our re-creation in baptism.
Fr. John Mosimann