February 12, 2011 - Saturday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Yesterday, the first reading recounted how, through the efforts of the devil and the decisions of Eve and Adam, sin came into the world and with it shame and death. Today, God brings the first part of the cure: confession. “The LORD God called to Adam and asked him, ‘Where are you?’” God is not playing hide and seek. He is asking Adam to reveal himself. The sin has occurred, nothing now can make it un-occur, but God can begin to heal us, if we turn to him. So long as Adam hid from God, he was hiding nothing; he was an infant covering his eyes and pretending that the world had disappeared.

Adam “answered, ‘I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.’” He has begun to confess, but, rather than confess his sin, he confesses the consequences of his sin: “I am naked; I am afraid.” This is good. Adam admits weakness; there is still a place in his heart for God. God asks directly for a confession: “Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!” God knows what happened, but the confession will be essential. Adam begins with an excuse, a justification that fails to justify, but ends well: “The woman whom you put here with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.” He said the words; he confessed his sin; anything is possible now. God turns to Eve, who also begins with an excuse but finishes well: “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”

Consequences follow: pain in childbearing, an unhappy relationship between men and women, the man must now work for his food, and they will both die. What wonderful news! The remedy for our sin will be more expensive yet, but there is a remedy. Without the confession, life would have been hopeless, now it is merely very hard. Satan and his angels will never repent, so they will remain forever in Hell. Adam and Eve were led by Jesus into heaven after he died and broke the chains of death. By confessing their sin to God, our first father and mother, who failed to pass on their original holiness to us, have passed on an example for us to follow when we sin.