Adam, Eve and God’s Crucial Plan

Sunday, June 9, is the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Detail, ‘Adam and Eve,’ Lucas Cranach the Elder
Detail, ‘Adam and Eve,’ Lucas Cranach the Elder (photo: Public domain via Wikicommons)

Sunday, June 9, is the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mass readings: Genesis 3:9-15; Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35.

In the first reading, from Genesis, the Lord asks three important questions and sets into motion a “crucial” plan for our salvation. Let’s look at each question in turn and then observe God’s saving plan.

“Adam, where are you?”

God’s first question has almost the quality of a plaintive cry. Because Adam is the head of his household, when God calls Adam, he is also seeking Eve. Of course, God knows where Adam and Eve are. He is really saying, “Adam, Eve: Your heart has been hidden from me. What has happened? Where are you going with your life?”

“Where is your heart?” This is a crucial question for all of us who are so easily wayward and dull of heart: Where are you? Note that God is seeking them, not pursuing them. There is nothing here to imply an angry Father, bent on punishment and venting his anger, pursuing those who have done wrong. No, this is a soulful cry.

“Who told you that you were naked?”

Nakedness here is about more than a lack of clothes. It refers more fully to the experience of feeling exposed, vulnerable, inadequate and unduly humiliated before God and others. In other words, God is saying, “Who told you that you were wretched and inadequate such that you need to hide from me? Who told you that you are ugly, that others are better than you, that you do not measure up, that others are laughing at you, that your inadequacies are all that others see?”

“I never told you that,” God says. “Clearly, Satan has bedeviled you and lied to you.”

It is a terrible thing to sin, but it is even worse to then lose all hope, to despair, and to feel incapable of emerging from the nakedness of humiliation.

Remember, the Lord did not forsake Adam and Eve. He prepares their salvation (as we shall see) and, meanwhile, “made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).

Later, Jesus clothed us in righteousness (Revelation 19:8).

“Why did you do such a thing?”

Here is an invitation to look into our hearts and ponder our motivations. The Catechism speaks to Adam and Eve’s motivations in the following way:

“Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. … All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 397).

Adam and Eve accepted Satan’s lie that God was not really good and that he was preventing them from being gods. This also aroused their pride and made them ungrateful for what they had. These are the deeper drives behind their external act. It is good to confess our sinful behavior, but it is more healing to ponder the deep drives of sin and seek the Lord’s healing. Through self-knowledge and grace, we can take greater authority over our lives.

The text from Genesis 3 also announces the “protoevangelium” (the first Gospel) after original sin.

The Lord does not forsake Adam, Eve or us. He sets forth a crucial plan wherein one of Eve’s own progeny will rise to conquer Satan’s pride by his humble acceptance of the cross.

Whatever your sins, never forget that God has a plan to save you. Let God find you as he calls out, “Where are you?” Let him help you to understand your heart. Finally, let him apply the crucial remedy, the cross. All he needs is your ongoing Yes!