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8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Genesis 3:8-13 (NIV)
The story of Adam and Eve, our first parents, is a story often told and one that we all know. God made Adam, than Eve, Eve ate of the fruit and gave it to Adam. God came for His walk in the garden, with Adam and Eve, and Adam and Eve hid… Why, because they were naked…
Naked, meaning nothing to cover them, yes, but no. Naked has a deeper meaning here, the nakedness they felt was manifested on the outside, but was truly on the inside. The shame they felt was not a shame of the body, but a shame of the soul, for they now understood good and evil, they now knew what it was like to sin, and the soul was shamed.
We all are naked before the Lord, for He sees everything, there is nothing He does not know, for He created us and loves us. We are all sinners and we all, at some point feel shame for our actions.
Adam and Eve fashioned fig leaves together to cover their shame, they hid themselves from the sight of God, but God could see them and He questioned them. The first reaction, blame others… Eve the snake, Adam the woman. But who truly sinned, who was truly to blame, Adam, the first man, the first priest. His Church, the garden, under his care, all that God has created. Adam was given guardianship over Gods creation. How do I know this, what makes me say this, God had Adam name all the creatures of earth. To name something is to care for it. We, as parents, name our children, and in doing so, take on the responsibility of caring for and nurturing and protecting that child. Adam was given the same responsibility. God created Eve from Adam, flesh of my flesh blood of my blood, as Adam put it. So Eve was of Adam and of God, but Adam was of God only. Adam was the first priest, his church, the garden, his flock, all of Gods creation. As the priest, he was charged with protection all with in his domain, all of Gods creations, and all within the garden. By allowing the devil to enter into the Garden, Adam had failed, he had fallen asleep at the gate and allowed Eve to be tempted. Adam had sinned.
The nakedness of humanity had started, sin has entered our world and all the lies to cover up our nakedness had become part of our humanity. We may not use fig leafs to cover our nakedness anymore, but we still cover up nerveless.
Stories of priest falling asleep on the job is not just a Adam story, we experience it today. The news stories if Priest abusing their powers, embezzling money and of course the sex scandal. But that is only the Priest we identify, in truth, we Catholics, all of us, are priest (lower case p), by our very Baptism we are priest, profit and king. We are Adams of our own gardens, and we have dominion over all with in it, our children, pets, family’s and communities. Have we fallen asleep at our gates? Have we let the snake into our gardens? As a fallen race, I would venture to guess the answer is yes, we have allowed the snake in, but have we allowed the snake to tempt us? Once again I would have to say yes, we have, we all have because we all are human and being so means we all have failed, we all have sinned. But now comes the next question, what have you done about it? Have you just allowed the snake to take over or have you worked diligently to exterminate the snake?
The garden of Eden was paradise, but man, in his imperfections, allowed evil to enter within its gates. He allowed it because he allowed his ego to control him actions, his desire to be more than what he is became his downfall and we are still dealing with it today. Our ego is the snake and our lies are the fig leafs and our shame the nakedness.
The Cross of Redemption has opened of the gates of Heaven, but the gates of the Garden of Eden are still locked to us, someplace on earth paradise sits, but we are too vain to see it, our eyes are covered over with our own vanity, that we could not see it even if we were standing in the middle of it. Our inequities blind us to the perfection of Eden and keep us in a state of nakedness.
Christ, the new Adam, has redeemed us and renewed our priesthood with His body and blood. His suffering was the down payment and His death the price, he purchased our salvation and guaranteed its delivery through His resurrection. Adam came into this world naked, than trough sin covered up his nakedness, Christ died upon the cross naked to defeat the sin that Adam introduced.
Lent offers us a time to expose ourselves before God, to remove the fig leafs and stand naked before our God. A time to ask for forgiveness and a time to receive it. Like Adam, we all have allowed sin to enter into our lives, we all have allowed our ego to control our actions,but unlike Adam we have the promise of salvation. Adam, by covering himself in sin, closed the gated of Heaven to us, but Christ, but uncovering the sin, exposing Himself to our sins, has open the gates of Heaven to us. We must work hard in our gardens to eradicate the snake, to remove it from our gardens to till the soil and plant the seeds of forgiveness and love. Use this Lenten session to do a bit of gardening, attend the Sacrament of Confession, make peace with your soul and tend to your garden.
God Bless & Happy Lent