Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 2:4b-9.15-17; Mark 7:14-23)
Today’s first reading is taken from the so-called second account of creation. Genesis has already given an ordered account of how the universe and everything in it came to be. Now it provides a personal story to assist humans in knowing the glories and pitfalls of life.
The gospel today seemingly moves in a direction opposite to that of the first reading. Where it relays how Jesus “declared all things clean,” the first reading shows the Lord God prohibiting a specific food. The human is not to eat of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.” People have speculated on what kind of food the tree bears for millennia.
To the best of our understanding the food of the forbidden tree does not provide true knowledge of good and evil. Rather it gives us only a semblance of it. True knowledge of good and evil – what we know as wisdom -- comes mostly from listening to what God tells us. By contrast, eating of the tree of knowledge is to think of oneself as wise without God. It is to say, “I don’t need God to know what is good for me and what is bad for me; I can determine that for myself.” This, of course, is the essence of pride. In the gospel Jesus tells his disciples what is truly good and bad. Eating any of the food that God provides – prudently, for sure – is good. Evil comes from a heart set on self-satisfaction.