First Reading: Gn 3:9-15; Psalm: 130. R. v. 7bc; Second Reading: 2 Cor 4:13-5:1; Gospel: Mk 3:20-35



FreeBibleimages :: Adam and Eve disobey God :: Adam and Eve face the  consequences of disobedience (Genesis 3)

In relation to the first reading of today, a stand-up comedian once entertained his audience with the submission that man was the first creature on earth to fail an exam. According to him, when God asked Adam “Where are you?” Adam replied that he was naked instead of disclosing his location. Of course, as expected, the comedian got his audience laughing; but one of the dangers of comedy is that in an attempt to decompress the emotional stress of the listening audience with sarcasm or comic skills, we may miss out on some underlying truths. And this is possibly why some readers diminish the Adam and Eve story as nonsensical fable, and nothing close to sensible reality.

Agreed, practically the story of Adam and Eve’s disobedience may appear to feature some logical inconsistencies like the reply of Adam and the talking serpent; but it however presents some reasonable and logical experiences of man which is an everyday reality. So, this story is not a mere fable; there are truths hidden in it. And we shall be reflecting on these truths.

When God said to Adam; “Where are you?” it was not a question of location. Recall that prior to this question, God commanded Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gn 2:17). And the question “Where are you?” only came after Adam disobeyed God by eating from this forbidden tree. So, the question “Where are you?” was about the spiritual state of Adam and not exactly about his physical location. “Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image – that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no 399). In their state of sin, they severed the divine friendship they shared with God. This answers the question “Where are you?”

This question reawakened their consciousness to reflect on what they had just done. Adam said; “I heard the sound of you in the garden and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” This was the distress of guilty conscience followed by the shame of guilt. The realisation of sin often brings guilt; and then shame. And once we get to that stage of shame, we can be tempted to be defensive or indulge in blame-shifting especially when the consequences of our action are grave or humiliating. Adam blamed God and Eve for his disobedience. And Eve blamed the serpent. Neither Adam nor Eve was ready to take responsibility for their actions. Nothing kills remorse faster than denial. And forgiveness is wasted without remorse.

“Where are you?” This question should continue to re-echo in us because the struggle with sin has become an inherent aspect of the human experience. This question brings to our consciousness our state in relationship with God. But we cannot hear this question without reflection; for it is in reflection that God uncovers our sins; not to guilt shame us but to bring us back to Himself. However, we all have that inclination of Adam not to own up to our sins especially when guilty of grave sins. We see ourselves blame-shifting or trying to justify our actions to solicit God’s pity or to mitigate the just punishment due to sin. We must unlearn this habit for it kills remorse without which we cannot receive God’s forgiveness.

Our first reading of today invites us to take a sincere look at our sins and to admit and take responsibility for them. There is no justification for any act of sin consciously and wilfully committed. God however has not left us in our vulnerability and susceptibility to sin. St Paul reminds us in our second reading that God extends his grace to all people to strengthen us. We cooperate with God’s grace in our combat with sin when we do not allow our wilfulness to override obedience to the divine will of God. In other words we must not abuse our God-given freedom.     

The question “Where are you?” is a reconciliatory call. It is implicitly similar to the question of Jesus in our gospel reading of today – “How can Satan cast out Satan?” It is that kind of question that calls us to reflect and retrace our steps lest we head to ruin. This reconciliatory call can only come from the God who cares. The God who does not want us to be lost in sin. The God who will always be the first to take a step when we are lost. And so the same God calls us today once again – “Where are you?”  


Lord Jesus, save us from the sin of disobedience to your divine will; and grant us the disposition to admit our sins when we fall, so as to be reconciled back to you. Amen


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