Today’s 1st reading narrates the story of how the serpent tempted Eve and then Eve to Adam.
“The serpent was the most subtle of all the wild beasts that the Lord God had made. It asked the woman, ‘Did God really say you were not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?’ The woman answered the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden. But of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, “You must not eat it, nor touch it, under pain of death.”’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘No! You will not die! God knows in fact that on the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil.’ The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye, and that it was desirable for the knowledge that it could give. So she took some of its fruit and ate it. She gave some also to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized that they were naked. So they sewed fig-leaves together to make themselves loin-cloths.”
“The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:1-8
When Eve said she cannot eat because she will die. The devil said, “No you won’t, you will live, in fact you will become like God!" After the devil’s persuasive words, suddenly Eve looks at the tree differently, it becomes pleasing to the eye and good to eat. This kind of convincing words sounds familiar specially when we buy some stuff, like phone. You will say, “O I don't need that.” And then the guy will tell you, “But if you upgrade to this phone, it will make your communication easier and safer because of these and that features”. Once we got hook up with the words that “it will make our communication easier” we buy it and then we go back home only to realize we are already way beyond our budget.
I think this story in Genesis is the first account of aggressive marketing!
This narrative keeps on repeating even until now in our daily life. We start with good intention, “I will expand my business so I can help more people.” So far, good. Then along the way, someone will tell us, “To increase your profit, you should hide your real sales in order to have less tax.” And we reply, “No, that is not good and it is against the law.” But then we hear the argument, “But everyone is doing it anyway, and besides you can use your money to help others.” Then like Eve, we start to look at it in a different way, it becomes pleasing to the eyes and good to do.
So, two things:
1. Just because it sounds good does not mean it is good. Arguments can be deceiving. We have to stand on moral grounds or else we will be hurting people and, in the end, hurt ourselves.
2. Just because the “fruit” looks good does not mean it is beneficial. Looks can be deceiving. So, for example in relationships, always go deeper. If we want to know the real thing, go beyond hi/hello and virtual friendship. Relationship in surface level is no relationship at all.
Now, what was the first realization of Eve and Adam upon eating the fruit? They realized they were naked. The innocence was gone. When before there was no malice in nakedness, now they’re noticing it. Once we act on the temptation, our innocence is broken, we now look things with malice.
Lastly, what were their reaction upon seeing that they’re naked? They hide. They remembered the word of God and they felt afraid and ashamed. Once we realize that we did something bad, we feel afraid and ashamed and it cripples us.
Lord, grant us a discerning heart so that we can fully participate in what is true, good and beautiful in life. Amen.