Commentary on the Gospel of
As I read our Old Testament reading today, the first thing I noticed was that Adam was afraid. I continued to read, fairly quickly, the familiar story of the Lord banishing Adam and Eve from the garden and went next to our reading from Mark. The first words Jesus says in that reading are “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.” This gave me pause, having just read the story of being banished. I began to reflect and read again the Genesis reading, with the reminder that God is a God of Love. God wishes our health and wholeness. God wishes the best for us. With this reminder I could now see the “banishment” with new eyes. For instance, the words from the Lord “. . .You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!” I have (and I think many have) interpreted as this loud, angry voice from above shaking his finger, accusing Adam of being naughty, therefore requiring punishment. But when I remember that God is loving and generous, I hear a sad voice simply stating what Adam has done. And, in a way, as expressed by Jesus, having pity on Adam because now, Adam is afraid. Eating from the tree of good and evil has introduced Adam to fear. This saddens the Lord. So when we reach the part of the story where it reads:
“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 for the garden of Eden, . . . .. .”
I hear it in a new way. I hear not that God is angry and Adam is being punished but that the Lord is protecting Adam from living forever with the fear he now knows. Our image of God is so important when reading scripture. The perspective/lens we bring brings life to the words on the page and influences what we hear in those words. I know that this is just one lens through which to read the this story but it brought me great consolation today to read it through the eyes of a loving God whom Jesus reveals to us, who has pity on us and desires us to be nourished and cared for.
As we go about our day today and continue to walk through life during a pandemic, I wonder what other shifts in perspective we may be invited to? How are we being invited to remember our God as a God of Love? How are we being invited to reveal God to one another as Jesus reveals God to us?