We continue with the pairing of primeval history situated at the beginning of the book of Genesis and the gospel of Mark. Here the senses of sight, speech, and hearing are highlighted with movements rich in symbolism telling the story of salvation.
We have a talking serpent that the Lord God had made who most translations label as “cunning.” Later scripture will identify the serpent with Satan or evil but for now the text simply states the facts above. It is clear that he has mischief on his mind as he addresses the unsuspecting woman, who had been living in harmony, feeling no shame. She observed the tree was good, pleasing, and desirable and she acted upon those thoughts certain that she was right. And she had her eyes opened, as did the man who was with her.
This isn’t just a story about Adam and Eve acting on their desire for more than God had given them; more than they needed; more that could hurt them-for life! Even in Eden they wanted more!
I act this out every time I deliberately choose to sin. Certainty can be turned upside down when my eyes are opened to the emptiness of what looked good, pleasing and desirable. I too, am tempted to cover my shame and disobedience by hiding from God.
In the gospel, Jesus lays his hand on the deaf man whose ears and eyes are immediately opened. Recognizing the prophet, Isaiah, who spoke of Israel’s deliverance when God would open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf (Is. 35:5-6), the people were exceedingly astonished at the significance of Jesus actions. Salvation had come to them-and us!
“Lord, probe me and know my heart…then lead me in the ancient paths.” (Ps 139:23-24) …And we are invited to be healed of our shame so that we may once again walk with the Lord God at the breezy time of the day.
Jean Bowler is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, and a member of the Office of Mission Effectiveness Board of Holy Cross Province.