THE TREE OF LIFE

Meditation for Wednesday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time, Year B
(Gen 2:4-9, 15-17; Mk 7:14-23)

The second account of creation describes how man was formed. He is a product of the earth, formed from the dust from the ground but lives with the breath of life from God. “When you hide your face they vanish; you take away their breath, they die and return to dust” (Ps 104:29). God placed man in a garden where he could feed himself and exist freely. At the CENTRE of the garden were the TREE OF LIFE and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God gave man this one command, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for, in the day that you eat it, you shall die.”

The man of the earth, who lives by the breath of life from God, is given freedom with responsibility for his own sake. If the life of man is the BREATH OF GOD, then physical fruit or food cannot defile him. This is the discussion we heard in the Gospel of today. Those who make laws about ‘how to eat’ or ‘what to eat to keep the spirit of God in man are mistaken. Jesus explains, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man.”

It is clear, therefore, that our inner heart is the new GARDEN from where we live and exist freely. Two kinds of trees are identified: the good tree of life and the bad tree that brings death. The fruits we produce show the kind of tree we are feeding on. Jesus explains, “From within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and they defile a man.” Let us nurture the ‘tree of life in the garden of our hearts, and feed on there. Because we live by the Breath of God, it is only when we nourish our hearts with the ‘tree of life that we produce fruits of the Holy Spirit. What do you think is this ‘food of life’ that keeps us spiritually alive and undefiled?

May God give us the grace not to feed on bad fruits that defile us, through Christ our Lord, Amen.

 

Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Tedi-Muwo, Lagos.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2021.
Memorial of St Scholastica.
www.nwachinwe.blogspot.com

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