We have returned to the simple green of “ordinary time,” having just come off the liturgical highway of feasts which began last December. We traveled through Advent and Christmastide, then back into Lent and Eastertide with its grand finale of Pentecost followed by Trinity Sunday. The feasts of Corpus Christi (last Sunday) and the Sacred Heart (last Friday) followed by the Immaculate Heart (yesterday) cap this great liturgical sweep. We live the core mysteries of the Incarnation and the Resurrection through the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary, communicated to us at every Mass within the Body of Christ. Truly our own hearts are restless until they rest within the hearts of Jesus and Mary. The Church of the Eucharist is our earthly home while on pilgrimage to our eternal Home, the House of the Father.
The Day we became Homeless
The first reading today, from Genesis 3, tells the sad tale of the day humanity became homeless. Adam and Eve decided to leave their Father’s House by a fundamental act of distrust. “After the man had eaten of the tree”—that is, after he had lost his trust in God’s perfect will (we call this the Original Sin), God asks Adam … why? Why did you not trust me? Adam blames someone else: “She gave it to me—the woman you gave me.” It’s her fault, and really, it’s your fault! God then asks the woman: why did you give death to your husband? Eve blames someone else—“The serpent tricked me” and now implies, with Adam, that God himself is at fault: why did God put a snake in Paradise in the first place? With Adam and Eve, we say that God cannot lay all sorts of traps in our lives and expect us not to get hurt.
Isn’t it true that I’m messed up because someone else—probably in my childhood—messed me up. And they keep messing me up. My husband or my wife, my employer or my coworkers—someone right now is messing me up. I’ll always be messed up, so I’ll just have to self-medicate with food, or alcohol, or marijuana, or porn, or anger, or the internet. The temptation, when we mess up, is to think that we are helpless victims of this messed up world.
A New Adam and a New Eve
But God sent a rescue mission, a New Adam, born of a New Eve. The First Eve gave death to Adam. The Second Eve gives life to the entire human race by giving birth to a Savior, who trusts that God really is looking after him. In the Gospel this New Eve asks for Jesus from the edge of the crowd. Maybe she had a basket of food for him (she had heard, perhaps, that the crowds kept her Son so busy he had not even enough time to eat). Maybe she just wanted a word with him (she had heard, perhaps, that the leaders had decided to kill Him). The mother just wants to see her son for a moment. But Jesus says: “Anyone who does the will of my Father is my mother, and my brother, and my sister.” He directs our eyes to his own Mother, the perfect disciple, perfectly committed to the will of God. But Jesus also says that we all have a place in God’s house, if we do the will of the Father. Mary broke the chain reaction of rebellion begun by Eve, and now no one has to sin. Everyone can be a saint, and no one is excluded from the House of the Father.
The journey begins and continues with prayer. Only within prayer could Mary have responded to God’s Word through the Angel Gabriel, “Let it be done to me according to your will.” She trusted where Eve did not trust. Prayer is essentially silence, a stillness that can learn to trust the quiet voice of God. “In the Silence of the Heart God speaks” Mother Teresa would say. Today, in this parish, we begin the Forty Hours Devotion: 40 uninterrupted hours of silent adoration before the Eucharistic Face of Christ. It is only in this grace-filled emptiness that God can fill us with his perfect will. You are not OK, and I am not OK, but that’s OK because we have a heavenly Father who welcomes us into His home, the place where His Son awaits us in the most Blessed Sacrament. Give yourself an hour with Him over these next two days.