It is 10th February 2017. We celebrate the memorial of St Scholastica, the Virgin. She is the patron saint of the nuns and more specially for the Benedictine nuns. The readings are from Genesis 3:1-8; and the Gospel of Mark 7:31-37. The first reading portrays the first temptation and the fall of Adam and Eve. Unless we are guided by the power of the Holy Spirit, we cannot discern between good and evil. The first couples wanted to be wise but ended up being naked. The snake is identified with the devil. The shrewd conversation of the devil brings division, unhappiness and distancing the human beings from God. Most of the times, the evil and the bad seems to be so attractive because of its momentary pleasure. The irreversible pain follows these kinds of pleasure. The inner pull and longing to be great creates vacuum and lacuna in a person and leaves them to be naked spiritually. Shame enters when we are spiritually and psychologically intimidated and invaded by someone or something. Adverse effects of shame can last till one’s death. We cannot deal with shame alone; we need the power of God to deal with it. That is what exactly happened to Adam and Eve. They wanted to be different from what God intended them to be. When we oppose the will of God through our smartness and hunger-for-more, we begin to destabilize and gradually fall out of grace. The choices that we make against God and God’s plans for us will have a deep cut in our spiritual being as well as in the way we relate with one another. All types of sexual sins divide us, distance us, deviate us and gradually destroy our love for God and for others. God wants to restore everything we have destroyed through our selfishness and sinfulness. God cleans up our mess in every occasion. What our sins closes, grace open it. “The man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God.” (Gen.3:8). Are we running away from God and hiding from the Lord too out of shame and guilt? Have we done something against the will of God and the plan of God with our smartness and the craving for more? Our lives cannot be hidden from the presence of God no matter what we have done. God wants to be so close to us and desires an intimate communion with us. The responsorial Psalm acclaims, “Happy the man whose offence is forgiven.” (Ps.31:1). The Gospel brings out the healing of Jesus that opens what was closed in us. Jesus cures a deaf man to hear again. What God has opened, no one can close it. ‘Ephphatha’ means ‘be opened’ (Mk.7:36) is an invitation to all of us who have closed our minds and hearts and distanced ourselves from God for one reason or another. May we have a good day.