Sunday, June 10, 2018

Look Forward in Faith

Week after week, this community gathers to celebrate the Eucharist.  Every time we do, the Lord is present in our midst: gently and lovingly caring for our needs and feeding us with special food.  It’s important that we never lose sight of the history that is behind this special food.  That’s the reason why we read a part of our faith history at every Mass.

Today’s first reading places us at the moment when Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden ... and they hid themselves (Gen 3:8).  What follows is a reflection of the reaction that every one of us encounters when we know that we’ve done something wrong.  Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit of the tree that they were not supposed to touch and so they hid themselves from God’s presence.  What’s interesting is that God comes looking for them.  The Lord God called to the man and said to him: Where are you? (Gen 3:9).  Our God always comes looking for us.  Even when we may be ashamed of our actions and prefer to hide, He will always come looking for us, because he loves us.

The conversation that takes place between God, Adam, Eve and the serpent is very revealing.  Have you ever noticed that when we have done something wrong, we are always quick to blame someone else for our own mistakes?  Why does it always seem so much easier for us to point blame at others rather than owning up to our mistakes?  Adam blamed Eve for giving him fruit from the tree (cf Gen 3:12) and Eve blamed the serpent for tricking her into eating the fruit (cf Gen 3:13).  The devil is always at work, trying to deceive us, but that’s not the end of the story.

In the gospel, we find a moment when Jesus had returned home (cf Mk 3:20).  Home is supposed to be a place where we can relax, enjoy a meal and refresh ourselves before continuing on the journey of life. Even in that place though, the crowd came together ... so that Jesus and his disciples could not even eat.  Did his human emotions get the better of him?  Maybe he was grumbling – wouldn’t we? – so the people were saying that He has gone out of his mind (Mk 3:21).

Almost immediately though, it seems that Jesus regained his composure, and we see the real lesson of today’s scripture passage.  Jesus invites us to gather around his table, to share a meal with him.  In this place, we are nourished and refreshed and the food that he gives us helps us to continue doing his work: the work of recognizing God’s loving and merciful presence in our world.  God has always wanted to live with us, to walk with us in the garden (cf Gen 3:8) and to help us to live in peace and harmony with one another.

The devil is always present, trying to deceive us and to take away the gifts of peace and harmony, replacing them with discord (cf Mk 3:24-26).  Thankfully, God us much smarter than the devil: he knows all his tricks and catches him at his own game, every time.

Jesus has invited us to gather in this place.  He reminds us today that even though the devil is always at work, He is there to protect us.  We have come to believe this because we know that the one who raised Jesus will raise us also with Him and will bring us into his presence (2 Cor 4:14).  Let us give thanks for this great gift.

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