The first reading tells the story of Adam and Eve’s sin also known as Original Sin. The story is about the human desire to be God. By eating the fruit, they saw their naked selves. In their disappointment and embarrassment they clothed themselves and hid.
Today in Matthew’s Gospel begins immediately after, “A voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased’.” (Mt. 3:17). Jesus is tempted to do Godlike things- turn stone into bread; Jump from the top of the temple into the crowd below, become the ruler of the world.
Naturally being human we strive to grow and become bigger. Service, education, technology, science, religion all move us beyond ourselves and our present situation. It is natural to strive and to grow. But the story of Adam and Eve reminds us that no matter what we accomplish we need to remember that in the end we remain human.
Years ago on retreat I looked upon a crucifix and demanded that Jesus come down from it. I wanted the hungry to have enough to eat. I wanted the poor to have places to live. I wanted world leaders to end wars, to treat people fairly and to punish those who caused harm. Why couldn’t Jesus have ruled the world creating and enforcing laws that would make the ideal kingdom?
The answer was “I give you a new commandment, ‘Love one another’.” Jesus did not deem equality with God as something to be grasped, but instead emptied himself and took the form of a slave. He did it, but we do not like listening
The great commandment- to Love God and allow God to love us.; Love others and allow others to love us; Love ourselves as we are and not hide our imperfections or try to be something we are not. In other words, respond differently than Adam and Eve.
Lent is the time to strip ourselves of our God-like desires. To fast, pray, be generous and make sacrifices for others. In others words prepare ourselves to experience the resurrection.