Homily – June 10, 2018

Today’s first reading is from the book of Genesis, the book of beginnings. Every religion and culture has stories that attempt to explain our beginnings. The Indigenous people of Canada have several such stories. Our Judeo Christian faiths have the story we read about today. It was an attempt to explain the pain and mix-ups of life. It couldn’t be God’s fault, humans must have messed things us. So the story goes that from the dust of the earth God created man and from man God created woman. There was an intimacy between God and his creatures. God walked with them in the cool of the day. Adam and Eve lived in a lush garden, plants and flowers and fruit bearing trees. Everything was theirs to use. But there were limits. They were not to eat the fruit of the tree of good and evil.

Along comes the tempter, the spoiler, the trouble maker. They were shown the fruit of the tree and it was pleasing to the eye and it offered great possibilities. Anyone who ate the fruit would become like God, knowing good and evil. The allurement was too much. Both Adam and Eve tasted the fruit and it’s been downhill ever since.

They broke their closeness, the intimacy with God. Things would never be the same. The garden was off limits. Adam would earn his bread by the sweat of his brow; Eve would suffer the pains of bearing children.

Our Christian faith tells us that Adams act of disobedience was undone by the obedience of Jesus, an obedience that brought him to his painful and shameful death on the cross, an obedience that was recognized by the Father’s raising Jesus from the dead. By the death of Jesus we were reconciled to God – Jesus made peace by shedding his blood on the cross.

The consequences of that primal act of disobedience are still with us. We could say the snake still slithers into our lives. St. Paul expresses that reality when he says of himself, ‘ the good that I would that I do not and the evil I would not do, that I do.’

The snake strikes when are tempted to anger or resentment toward family members of friends. The snake strikes when all we’re concerned about is satisfying our needs for sensual pleasure. The snake strikes when all we’re concerned about is amassing things. The snake strikes when we give up being concerned about poor people, homeless people and the working poor. The snake strikes when resent the presence of refugees and immigrants in our neighbourhoods. The snake strikes when we belittle the faith or cultures of other people. The snake strikes when we fail to see other people as sons of daughters of our loving God, who are our brothers and sisters in the eyes of God.

We are good people but at the same time we are mistake making beings. The good that we would do, we do not and the evil we would not do, that we do.

What’s saves us is the grace, the goodness of Jesus Christ. Christ in our victor. His life and death, his example and teachings all tell us that in the conflict between good and evil that we face every day of life, in the end love conquers hate, goodness puts an end to evil, and justice prevails over injustice. God’s love for each on us is the antidote to the serpents bite.

One author expressed it this way:

What the Genesis story tells us is that in the conflict between evil and humanity, humanity will finally win. Our victory comes from the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The roots of evil are healed by the grace of God drawing those who seek to do God’s will into a community that serves one another and reaches beyond its own interests. Such people know the power of God and rightly call one another sister and brother, no matter what their natural genealogy. The “family values” of Jesus stretch us beyond the private interests of our immediate family to a much larger world. God grant that we be members of that greater world.