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Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Gen. 3:1-8 & Mk. 7:31-37

The origin of sin in our world is presented in Genesis in symbolic language. The serpent stands for Satan, the source of all temptations. The man and woman, symbolic of the entire human race, are not satisfied with all that God has done for them and want more, trying to put themselves in God's place. They abandoned Him and disobeyed Him. The tragic result was the opposite of what they hoped for; instead of becoming like God, they lost God's favour and everything He had given them.

We are, indeed, all like that man and woman. All forms of temptation involve a desire to abandon God’s will and put ourselves in His place. The antidote to the poison of sin is Jesus Himself, reaching out to us in our time of need to rescue us.

The man and woman were led astray, of course, by listening to Satan's lies. Satan is sure to tempt us, too, but if we listen to Jesus we can overcome every temptation. He tells us that happiness and fulfilment are to be found only in devotion to God's will.

Jesus Himself gives us strength when we are most weak. In the Gospel story, He takes pity on a man who is deaf and unable to speak. By touching him He cures his disability. He can help us to hear in our spiritual weakness, too, although sometimes we are so severely tempted that we turn a deaf ear to the voice of our conscience. We know that what attracts us is sinful, but we cannot find the strength to speak the word “No”. In these moments Jesus recognises our need and, if we ask, He will reach out and touch us, opening our ears to listen to the word of God or loosening our tongue so that we can speak up for what is right.

The man and the woman who listened to Satan succumbed to temptation, and Satan is sure to want to see us fall victim to his wiles.

Lord Jesus, our faith tells us that with You at our side we can overcome every temptation, knowing You want us never to lose our sense of values. Help us to realise that happiness and fulfilment are to be found only in God and through devotion with Your help to do His will.

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