Mumbai Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) | Daily scripture reflection 12th February 2021

Daily scripture reflection 12th February 2021

12th February, 2021
Initiative of the Ministry of the Word group Gen 3:1-8; Ps 32; Mk 7:31-37
12th Feb. 2021, Friday
5th Week in Ordinary time
Gen 3:1-8; Ps 32; Mk 7:31-37

Having set the stage, the author of Genesis is now seen taking full strides in his Narrative. Ch. 3 of Genesis gives us action, insight, psychological games, subtle irony, light and darkness and much more, all rolled into one powerful narrative that we often just describe as the “fall of man”. 

Today’s reading deals with the first eight verses that describe the temptation, the fall proper, and the reaction of man who hides away from God. Of course the entire narrative is transposed into human terms thus enabling the reader to enter into the immensity of what is being conveyed.

At the center of the narrative is the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil”. The concept here of “knowing” includes both the process and the result. It means to experience, to come to know, or more correctly, to be able to distinguish between. 

While it includes matters of morality (cf 1Kgs 3:9; Isa 7:15-16), it also refers to the ability to appreciate that which is good and bad in the physical world (cf 2Sam 19:36). This delicate and subtle difference is brought out in the narrative. 

Ch 2 closes by telling us that the “man and his wife were naked but they felt no shame”. Now on consuming the fruit of the tree of knowledge, their “eyes were opened and they discovered that they were naked”. The idea then of knowledge refers to the full range of possession of mental and physical powers; a nuance which the serpent cunningly brings into play (v.5)

The narrative points to the quest for deriving knowledge as an attempt to replace God as the one who determines morality and knowledge. For although the serpent is the one to deceive, the narrative makes it clear that Eve understood perfectly well the command of God and both she and her husband eat of the tree in defiance of God’s command to satisfy their desire to “be like God”. In their zeal to achieve this, they forget that God has created them in his own image and likeness; and in the process move from a state of essential “goodness” to a state of “fallenness”. 

In the Gospel we see a similar theme. Continuing the theme of cleanness and uncleanness, Mark now gives us another miracle. After denouncing the Pharisees and the scribes from Jerusalem and healing the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman, Jesus now heals a deaf-mute man in a most unconventional way. 

In the past Mark has described the power of Jesus’ word and his touch. But now, in keeping with his theme of ritual purity and impurity, he highlights Jesus’ use of spittle which was considered as a transmitter of impurity (Lev 15:8) and as a sign of madness (1Sam 21:13). 

By employing the use of spittle, Jesus comes dangerously close to ritual defilement. Yet as Mark points out that Jesus did “all things well” (7:37). The spittle actually frees the person and allows him to speak. Mark uses the specific term “unshackled” (v.35) to describe the man’s regained ability to speak – typical exorcist language used for binding and unbinding the opponent. The healing then recalls the Messianic blessing prophesied in Isa 35:4-6.

What Jesus does to this man is something that is meant to happen to each one of his followers.  We all need to have our ears opened so that we can hear & understand the fullness of Jesus’ Good News.  Having understood it, we then must go out speak out to the others.  Both hearing and speaking are inseparable for the Christian disciple.  As in today’s Gospel, when we have truly experience the power of the message and the love of Christ in our own lives, we cannot but do what the man did – proclaim it far & wide.