Aug 3, 2014

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Then he planted a garden in Eden, towards the East, where he placed the man he had formed. And God gave to the man this commandment: "From any tree of the garden you may eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, because on the day which you will have eaten of it, you shall surely die." But there was a serpent who was very clever. And one day he said to the woman, "Did God really forbid you to eat from any of the trees of the garden?" Remember - God only forbid them to eat from one tree. Do you see that the serpent has already lied? The woman responded to the serpent, "No. We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden, but not of the fruit of the tree which is in the center. God forbid us to eat of it and told us that we may not touch it, because we will die." What? God did not say those words. He never said "Don't touch" but rather "Don't eat." Already the first lie of the devil has confused the truth. And the woman has not told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Now she is ready for the next lie. The serpent said to the woman, "It is not true that you will die. On the contrary, God knows very well that if you eat of the fruit of the tree, your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, for you will know good and evil." And the rest is history.

What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom? In Latin the words for wisdom and taste or flavor are related. Wisdom is to know the flavor of God, which is better than merely to know good and bad things. "Taste and see how good The Lord is, " says the Psalmist. And St. Augustine says, "Late have I loved thee, O Beauty ever ancient ever new, late have I loved thee! . . . Thou exhaled perfume and I drew in a breath, and now I am panting and gasping for thee; I tasted thee, and now I am left hungering and thirsting for thee. . ." We need to experience the good savor of God in our hearts.

After the lies of the serpent, the Sacred Scriptures note that the fruit of that tree appeared appetizing, and beautiful to behold and excellent for acquiring wisdom. But it is not possible to take or steal wisdom by the violence of our wills or by disobedience. Wisdom is a gift from God. If, like Solomon, we ask God to grant us this gift, he gives it freely and willingly.

Then we will not see only the appearances, but rather we will know the reality. The world and the devil judge by the appearances of things. They believe themselves to be gods. "What, really, is marriage? What is life

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