A morality professor I once had classes with while studying theology liked to say that a baby, if it could, would kill you for an Oreo cookie.
It’s a startling image, but the point is one, at least in part, about original sin – that defect that we all have from birth which causes in us the disposition of sinfulness, or as the catechism says, the loss of original holiness and justice:
417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”. [ http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1C.HTM ]
We hear about Adam and Eve in this weekend’s first reading, along with some of the consequences of their sin. Notably, Adam and Eve – and in fact all creation – are at once shaken from the unity they previously had: Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the serpent. The former unity, the wholeness of creation, gives way to sin, enmity, division, and death.
Jesus, in the Gospel passage this weekend, is accused by the scribes of being possessed by demons and by His family of being “out of his mind.” First addressing the scribes, He rebukes them for their silliness: Why would demons want to drive out other demons? Only the strength and wholeness of God can do that. Then, addressing His relatives, He widens the definition of family in their sight: “Whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother.” This again speaks of the wholeness and holiness of God: All are invited to be God’s adopted children, one in the Father’s love, mercy, and justice.
As always, a lens of insight to these two readings is given by the Responsorial Psalm that links them: “With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” These words from Psalm 130 come at the end of a lament, cries of our great sinfulness and fear that the Lord might keep track of our foibles and weaknesses. Yet God does not; rather, God is forgiveness, trustworthy and true, and with enough redemption to redeem us all from all our sins — fullness of redemption.
Fullness, wholeness, holiness. Where there is sin and division, let us, filled with the Holy Spirit, try to bring concord and peace. Let the love of God be seen in our actions and lives, and be heard in all we say this week.