of Saints Cyril, monk, and Methodius, bishop
Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7
Genesis 3:1-8 “…You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil…”
Psalm 32: 1-2, 5, 6, 7 “…Then I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not. I said, “I confess my faults to the Lord,” and you took away the guilt of my sin...”
Mark 7: 31-37 “…He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)…”
The first reading in Genesis we remember from our childhood days. Eve is approached and encouraged by the serpent, the devil, to eat the fruit from the one tree that God had instructed them not to eat, not even to touch. When we are told not to do something, why is it that doing that one thing becomes so attractive to us? Why did God forbid Adam and Eve the fruit of that tree in the middle of the garden -- did He want to teach them about discipline? God gave human beings the gift of free will to choose; that gift came with great responsibility. Adam was encouraged by Eve to eat of the fruit as well.
The story in Genesis says that upon eating the fruit their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked, and they ran and covered themselves and hid from God. Before they ate the fruit they thought they were going to become all knowing like God; after they ate they knew they had disappointed God.
When I think back to my childhood days, I thank God for the gift of my parents, because they were well-balanced people, who I feel taught sound judgment. I was taught right from wrong, about making choices; initially many of those choices were made for me. As I reflect on the choices made in childhood, by myself and other siblings and neighborhood friends, it is a wonder that more of us didn’t end up in jail. I still don’t understand what motivated the others, but I understand what motivated me. Back then, I thought I was motivated by fear, and now I realize it was the kind of fear described in God’s Word, where fear means reverence. Having good parents, I was strongly motivated to please them.
So, how was it that Adam and Eve were so sure they had made a wrong choice after the fact? Did they finally hear what God had asked them to do? Why couldn’t they hear the inner voice of God calling them to obedience as the cunning serpent spoke? We realize this is our story too, we’ve all made wrong choices only to step back and realize our mistake. If we stop long enough to ask before making the choice, we will we hear that still small voice guiding our decision?
With that discipline in place, we are given back the full power to make good choices, instead of being overcome by the devil, whom I’ve heard it said pursues the human soul relentlessly, as if we are being hunted down. But God is pursuing us too. Peter said, “You are the Son of the Living God.” God is alive, and His Spirit dwells in all those who have been baptized. Today’s lessons are about Faith. The man was cured of his deafness, and his speech was restored because he believed. We believe as well, but sometimes we need to come in for a spiritual tune up.
The Responsorial Psalm is “Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.” The message comes full circle for we are much more able to hear God speaking when our hearts are not cluttered with the poor choices in our past. With forgiveness God helps us to start over. We are being invited to make a good confession, and to restore the faith God has in us to make good choices; after all He made us in His own image and likeness.
Finally, I’d like to ask God to continue to bless my parents who
celebrate 50 years of Marriage today.
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