Last week, a great white shark washed up on a beach in Cape Cod. Watch what happened:
After pulling the shark off the beach--later named Jameson by by his rescuers--they "walked" him into deeper water:
A few days later, the shark was detected along the coast, suggesting that he had survived. This story reminds me that humanity is fundamentally good--we are blessed with an original grace:
Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth. (Genesis 1:26)
Because we are made in God's image, we are capable of loving all things. And because of this love, we are called to care for all creation, making sure that all of our brothers and sisters--"all the fish of the sea, the birds in the air, the tame animals, the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth"-- flourish. We did not receive a license to exploit; we were entrusted with a responsibility to nurture.
This is a responsibility that is brought about by love. It is by loving that we imitate our God, and if we are to imitate God, we cannot limit our love to things that are easy to love, those things that are safe and cute. We have to love those things that terrify us, things that can bite us. We cannot love the sinner and hate the sin, so to speak. We can only love the sinner.
By saving Jameson the Shark, the good people at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy taught us that to be fully human means being as compassionate as our God. That can be risky, not unlike trying to save a beached shark that can bite your arm off.
But, like watching Jameson swim off on his own, it's a risk that brings great joy.