“As an atheist you have to rationalize things. . . . Then you have to try and make some sort of sense out of your problems. And if you try and find you can't, you have no choice but to be good and scared……” – Billy Joel: (born May 9, 1949: is an American singer-songwriter and pianist.)
Scripture Text: (GN 3:9-24)
The LORD God called to Adam and asked him, "Where are you?"
He answered, "I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself."
Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!"
The man replied, "The woman whom you put here with meB
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it."
The LORD God then asked the woman,
"Why did you do such a thing?"
The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it."
Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
"Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
On your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel."
To the woman he said:
"I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing;
in pain shall you bring forth children.
Yet your urge shall be for your husband,
and he shall be your master."
To the man he said: "Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat,
"Cursed be the ground because of you!
In toil shall you eat its yield
all the days of your life.
Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you,
as you eat of the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
shall you get bread to eat,
Until you return to the ground,
from which you were taken;
For you are dirt,
and to dirt you shall return."
The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.
For the man and his wife the LORD God made leather garments,
with which he clothed them.
Then the LORD God said: "See! The man has become like one of us,
knowing what is good and what is evil!
Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand
to take fruit from the tree of life also,
and thus eat of it and live forever."
The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden,
to till the ground from which he had been taken.
When he expelled the man,
he settled him east of the garden of Eden;
and he stationed the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword,
to guard the way to the tree of life.
The first reading from Mass today reminds us that there is a rebellious part in each of us, which lets ourselves be seduced by an evil desire to be like God. The result is that God has to ask us the question, "Where are you?"
God knows we are somewhat lost - at least, not at home. The "place" we are in is too often out of sync with who we truly are. We can feel it when we've made choices which compromise our basic sense of who we are. The more we choose independence and isolate ourselves from God's way for us to become integrated into a relationship with God, with our sisters and brothers, and with our planet, we feel "out of sorts." A harmony and communion are missing. We may not know why we are unhappy or angry or feel at odds with so many people, but we know we are not at peace, or "at home." It is like we have been eating junk food - knowing we are cheating our health - yet, we wonder why we don't feel well, feel sluggish and just "off." We consume and try to nourish ourselves on a lot of things, We indulge in all kinds of non-loving behaviors, which don't actually make us happier, which don't build unity, that are toxic to our communion with our God, and don't lead to our being in harmony with ourselves. The result is that sometimes, we don't feel at home with talking with God. We even hide ourselves from God.