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February 15, 2019: Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Reading Genesis 3:1-8
Gospel Mark 7:31-37

...the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

The first chapters of the Book of Genesis are the first chapters of the Bible as the foundation of a house is its first layer. They’re not just the first of many, but those on which the others rest. These chapters offer keys which unlock the meaning of so many passages of Scripture that follow.

In the First Readings of today’s and tomorrow’s Masses, we hear of mankind’s Original Sin. Today’s First Reading presents its commission; tomorrow’s, its immediate consequences.

We might reflect upon the fact that it takes six verses in this narrative before the woman commits the original sin. Four things occur beforehand: the serpent asks her a question; she responds; the serpent refutes her response; and the woman reasons her way to the commission of the sin.

Our own sins may not concern the eating of fruit, and a serpent may not be our tempter, but the dynamics between the serpent and the woman are key. The serpent did not motivate the woman to act impulsively. Rather, the serpent used (or rather, abused) reason to sway the woman’s intellect. She freely choose to sin, believing entirely for herself that her sin was a good. We ought to consider these five verses as a sort of examination of conscience for ourselves.