Sunday, March 9, 2014

1st Sunday in Lent - Matthew 4: 1-11 - "Where are you?"

“Where are you?” God calls out to Adam and Eve after they’d eaten the forbidden fruit and hidden themselves from Him in the shadows of the Garden of Eden.

I hope we are all familiar with this story in Genesis: The Fall of Man.  And I hope that we pass this story on to all generations, so they may learn what man has lost through sin after succumbing to the temptations of the evil-one.  In knowing this story, are we able to appreciate God’s gift in sacrificing His only Son, Jesus, to restore us to eternal life.  For when God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden it was to the Tree of Life that he denied them access.  This gift is from God alone, restored to us through Jesus, the Christ.

After the fall of man, when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they became aware of good and evil just as the evil-one said, but realizing in their nakedness – they now knew what they had done was evil.  As they hear God approaching they hide themselves out of shame and fear: Shame for their disobedience and fear of God’s punishment.

While they hide in the dark, God searched for them in the Garden, calling, “Where are you?”  He sought them out until He found them.  God’s love for His children brought Him to search for them; knowing that they were lost and afraid.  He knows us too, for we also are His children.  As he did with Adam and Eve, he continually searches for us, calling out, “Where are you?”  Unceasingly, He searches wherever we may be hiding from Him, in our shame and fear.  God loves all His sheep and tirelessly seeks His lost lambs: rescuing them from all the most dangerous places into which they fall; carrying them back into the fold.

As we begin our season of Lent: our special time for reflection and examination, let us come out from our hiding places and allow God to find us, no matter what deep dark place we’ve fallen into.  None is too terrible that God will not go to rescue us and return us to His safety.
  • Let us step out from hiding in the dark to come into the light of Christ; seeking God’s unending mercy and love. 
  • Let us run into the embrace of His loving arms to be comforted and caressed. 
  • Let us be reconciled with Him and His people, in the Body of Christ: healed and restored: to take up our rightful place in the peace of heaven. 
  • Let us not be afraid to accept our just punishments, as we accept God’s love and His gift of salvation and reward of eternal life.

When God asks us, “Where are you?” we should ask ourselves “Where am I” in my relationship with God.  I use this rhetorical question when speaking with seekers, candidates and catechumens as they come to the Church looking for the sacraments.  I ask this because the Church are not a sacrament factory, but body of fellow seekers of God’s love all on this journey of discipleship in Jesus Christ.  It is our discipline as Christians to watch out for, care for: support, strengthen and encourage one another on our journey into God’s kingdom.

We are each called by God into an ever closer relationship with Him, through Jesus and the Spirit.  God never stops searching for us.  We should never stop reaching out to Him.  He knows our frailty, our weakness and wants us to come into the Light of Christ to be healed and reconciled with Him and with one another.

What God has denied us in this life through original sin, He wants to return to us in the promise of His heavenly kingdom.  He knows we live in the world where the evil-one rules.  He knows we are tempted and misled by the lies spoken by the great deceiver.  Just as he tricked Adam and Eve, evil works to plant doubt in our minds and fill us with desires of our own magnificence, so we may make gods of ourselves and remain banished from God’s kingdom.

It is important to ask ourselves where we are in our relationship with God. 
  • Where we are on our Road to Emmaus, our journey of discipleship in Jesus Christ? 
  • Do I truly live as Jesus taught and believe in Him? 
  • How much closer am I to God today than I was yesterday? 

So, when God asks, “Where are you?”  Am I hiding in darkness or am I standing in the Light? 
When He calls to me – do I stay silent, hidden from His sight or do I say, “Here I am Lord!  Speak, for your servant is listening.” ~Amen


Deacon Don Ron

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