5th Friday in Ordinary Time; Feast of St. Scholastica, February 10, 2023
Gn 3:1-8; Ps 32:1-2, 5-7; Mk 7:31-37
Today we hear the story again of original sin. The very first time man, in this case, Eve, and then her husband Adam, were tricked into doing something that was not good for us. In Eve’s case, it was listening to the serpent and eating fruit from the tree of knowledge. In Adam’s case, it was his own pride in wanting what Eve had, so he ate it, too. Their pride got in the way and it manipulated their free will. From that, all of us will suffer eventual death. A friend of mine said he once meditated on this reading for quite some time. He said, “Imagine, we were with God. I mean really, physically, with Him, where we were walking alongside Him, having a conversation and really, really enjoying our friendship.” He then went on, “And all of a sudden, it went dark, so dark that you couldn’t even imagine seeing your fingers on the ends of your hands. All felt lost.” It was then he said, he felt the pain of sin, the selfishness of wanting something only for himself, and no one else. It was then, he said, he understood original sin. It was also then, he said, he understood the sinful effects of pride.
On this feast day of Saint Scholastica, we have the opportunity to reflect on several things. First, we can reflect like my friend did on the effects of original sin, pride, and for that matter, all sin. All the sinful behaviors we struggle with, stem from that first decision that man made, with his free will, to turn his back on God. I like what my friend said, it all turned dark. If we truly believe that our sin, and we should, causes us to be separated from God, then yes, everything should turn dark. God is light and the opposite of light is dark. So if we turn our hearts away from God, we are turning away from light, and that would have us turning to darkness.
The second thing we can think about is what Jesus did in the Gospel. Jesus did the exact opposite, He took darkness, and made it light. So, if our sin is turning us away from God into the darkness, then the only way we can return to God, is by turning toward that light, and that would be Jesus. Curing a deaf and mute man is taking him from darkness into light. How could the man not proclaim what Jesus had done for him? The man was in darkness, but now able to hear and speak, he was full of joy, and full of light. We, too, can overcome that darkness put on us by our sinful behavior; by going to Reconciliation and doing penance. Our own darkness will be removed and we will once again see light. We once again will be walking in the garden with God.
St. Scholastic and her twin brother, St. Benedict, probably did not have many occasions where they were in darkness, or a state of sin. But God used them in miraculous ways. St. Scholastica dedicated herself to God very early on in life. She lived in a convent very close to her brother, St. Benedict, and she is considered the first Benedictine Nun. Pope St. Gregory the Great was a fan of St. Scholastica and wrote about her in his books, which is where we learned the little we know about her. Let us all be like St Scholastica and dedicate ourselves to God, and be in the light.