One day, God asked Adam how things were going with Eve.

“Pretty good, I guess”, Adam replied.

God went on “You seem to be holding back. Do you have any questions?”

“I sure do”, said Adam. “Why did you make her so much more beautiful than me?”

“So you would enjoy looking at her” God answered.

“And why did you make her skin so much softer than mine?”

“So you would enjoy touching and hugging her.”

“And why did you make her smell so much better than me?

“So you would want to be around her all the time. You see, Adam, I made Eve just for you, to make you happy.”

Adam thought for a minute and then asked “Then why did you make her so dumb?”

“Well Adam, if I had made her any smarter, she never would have married a guy like you!”

How many of you remember the comedian Flip Wilson's character, Geraldine? Geraldine would get herself into all kinds of predicaments and then try to explain it all away saying “The devil made me do it”. In today’s first reading from Exodus, we heard the familiar story of Adam and Eve. Like Geraldine, they tried to shift the blame when they sinned. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. Perhaps this was the inspiration for Wilson’s sketches. But you know, we also tend to blame others when we get into trouble. Think about some of the excuses we give: “He made me so mad that I couldn’t help it!” or how about , “Everyone else is doing it, so what’s the big deal?” We use all kinds of excuses to show that our actions are out of our control. But is that really true?

The message of Adam and Eve and the story of original sin is that we alone are responsible for our actions. Now, I am not denying that evil exists in this world. Yes, it certainly does. But the bottom line is that it does not control us. We choose to sin.

The Good News is that by our Baptisms, the original sin of Adam and Eve was wiped away and we became members of God’s family. The difficult part is staying there. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could always be good, never tempted? Sometimes we feel downright divided, don’t we? There is a constant tug-of-war between good and evil. One side is pulling us toward sin while the other is wrenching us toward God. This is the struggle that we all face. In the second reading today, St. Paul tells us to always aim for God’s way, that which is eternal and unseen. The things that are “seen” are transient. This includes all of the material aspects of life; money, social status, as well as the things that bring us temporary pleasure such as alcohol, drugs, and sex. So the question for today is this: What choice will you make when you are tempted to sin? Are you going to go for the temporal things or will you cross that tug-of-war line into God’s way? If we look to God’s design in our lives, our reward will be waiting in Heaven.