Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 3: 1-8; Mark 7:31-37)
It is a classic axiom that humans do not choose evil because it is bad. Rather they choose it under the aspect of some good that it brings. In today’s first reading the serpent tempts the woman by mentioning apparent advantages of eating the forbidden fruit. First, her “eyes would be opened”; that is, she will have gained insight or knowledge. Then it adds that she and her mate “will be like gods.” They will not only know more but will decide for themselves right and wrong. Once the woman’s reason has been stirred by the serpent’s ideas, she imagines other benefits. The fruit becomes “pleasing to the eye” and apparently to the palate.
The story is reflected in every sin. The thief prizes another person’s treasure more than the person’s right to keep what she has legitimately obtained. The fornicator thinks little of the harm he creates by satisfying his lust but mostly of the pleasure it gives. Even people who know well of the evil that sin incurs may commit it anyway for the sense of autonomy it brings.
In today’s gospel as everyday Jesus is proclaimed as doing the Father’s gracious will. He restores hearing and clear speech to the man as a sign of God’s love. Such love is manifested in every judgment of conscience that some act would be evil. In refusing to sin, we acknowledge that God forbids evil acts because He loves us.