Reflection on the Daily Readings for 2/14/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: 5th Saturday. Genesis 3:9-24. Psalm 90:2.3-4.5-6.12-13. Mark
8:1-10. Lectionary # 334:
We are gifted with the freedom to choose, to decide, and to say yes
or no to situations we face each day. This gift is colorfully illustrated
in today’s selection from Genesis. We see the first couple faced with a
difficult decision that is brought about by a wily serpent who tells them
they can be like gods if they choose to eat of the fruit of the forbidden
tree of knowledge. All choices are usually made because they seem good.
So, too, this was a great idea coming from the serpent. Who would not like
to be like God. Hmm. Did they and do we forget what was said in another
tradition about being like God? We were made in the image and likeness of
God according to the first narrative of creation called the Priestly
tradition. Temptation is always something that at first looks very good.
So, too, was that tree of knowledge–both its fruit and its beauty. So why
not pluck of it, enjoy the fruit and become divine? The only problem about
the choice was that God the creator had advised them and even commanded
them not to eat of its fruit.
What about this creature called the serpent? We have not had any
mention of a Satan. It takes the last book of the Bible to tell us that
the serpent means Satan, the Devil, the great deceiver of the whole world.
(see Revelation 12:9). Evil seems to have a glitter of its own.
Shakespeare tells us “all that glitters is not gold.” How true this was
for Adam and Eve after having eaten of the fruit of the tree. Now they
begin to see there is a good and a bad in choice. We know that well from
the ongoing history since then and yet we too make bad choices under their
appearance of being good. That wily serpent still lurks in our imagination
and our memories. He or it is a deceiver from the beginning and still
continues making us feel ashamed for some of our choices.
Just as the woman’s, that is Eve’s offspring, will eventually crush
the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15), so, too, in the last book of the
Bible we will find out that Michael the archangel and guardian of God’s
people Israel, will thrust Satan and his cohorts into the abyss. Both
Genesis and Revelation bombard us with mythic symbols of the struggle of
good versus evil in our choices. We can again return to the knowledge of
the good by realizing that everything the Lord had made was declared good.
Only a bad choice made under the appearance of good by a deceiver could
lead both Adam and Eve away from being in the likeness of God by giving in
to the tempter and deceiver symbolized by a talking serpent.
Both Genesis and Revelation however do vindicate the human race and
no matter how much evil seems to be present in the world, God so loved the
world that God sent his only Son not to condemn the world but to save it
and us. As God said in the beginning and God saw and said all was good in
creation. The goodness of God’s love will eventually overcome all evil.
Our good choices help to bring about the victory. Amen.