March 5, First Sunday of Lent
Cycle A. Readings:
1) Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
Psalm 51:3-6, 12-13, 17
2) Romans 5:12-19
Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11
By Deacon Mike Ellerbrock
Catholic News Service
Was the original sin of Adam and Eve a matter of simply disobeying God’s command to not eat of a certain tree when tempted by a snake? Or was it a deeper issue: falling prey to the devil’s false promise that they could attain equality with God by partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil?
Upon attaining equality with God, their creator would henceforth become unnecessary, they thought. Life in the Garden of Eden would be splendid without divine supervision!
In March 2014, three college roommates bought a used couch for $55 from a Salvation Army thrift shop in New Paltz, New York. After noticing odd lumps in the old couch, they opened it up to find $40,000 in cash, plus a receipt with a woman’s name.
They called the woman and learned that she kept her life savings in the couch. At 91 years old, the woman had gotten quite ill and entered a hospital, where her family expected her to die, so they started liquidating her property, giving the old couch to the Salvation Army. However, she survived and had returned home.
The poor, broke students returned the money, bringing tears of joy to the woman.
Eve and Adam’s mistake was refusing to believe that they were already created in the image of God. Seeking equality with God is preposterous, not something to be grasped at.
The students who returned the money personify the difference between living in the image of God versus acting equal to God. In his Letter to the Romans, Paul reminds us that Jesus is the source of redemptive grace and model of unconditional love.
Bearing fruitful grace and love, the students made a sacrifice, knowing it was the right thing to do.
No human has the authority to act equal to God, deciding matters of life and death. Pursuing a life without God is the devil’s folly. Surpassing intellectual knowledge, true wisdom draws us into right relationship with our creator and savior.
Lent means “springtime.” May we humbly return to the garden, purified of suffocating weeds, and blossom in God’s image as fruitful flowers of faith.
Why do we see others, but not ourselves, as images of God? Is doubt the devil’s doorway?