Lent II / A / 2020
Msgr. Patrick S. Brennan
On this second Sunday of Lent, I want to reflect once again on the OT—continuing my "back to basics" reflections that I started last week, dealing with the Garden of Eden and the fall of humanity through pride and disobedience.
Today’s reading asks the question, "What happened after the fall?" The reading is taken from the 12th chapter of Genesis—a pivotal chapter in the OT, when God begins his "great rescue mission" of fallen humanity.
Last week we looked at Chapter 3 of Genesis—the "original blessing" and the "original sin." We focus on the sin, but we need to remember it started with a blessing: God created everything good, and that he intended LIFE for humanity—life to the fullest. He set man and woman in a garden with every possible delight—with permission to eat of every tree but one: the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
But the temptation was too strong—the temptation to be God’s rival—and Adam and Eve ate from the tree. Not God’s will, but their will. God tried to protect them, but they would not listen. And the result? Everything was lost. Communion with God was broken, and Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden.
In the chapters of Genesis following the fall of humanity, we see the sad results of sin. From Chapter 3 to Chapter 12, our reading today, the effects of sin snowball, like a growing virus, poisoning the entire world.
First, we find Cain and Abel: a story of jealousy, rivalry, cruelty, and murder. Then Noah and the ark: all of humanity is affected by sin, and the waters of chaos cover the earth to destroy it. Then the Tower of Babel: a great tower to rival God, the pride of technology in competition with God. Every chapter shows the effect of arrogance, willfulness, pride, and disobedience. Creation in disarray.
And the point? When we don’t listen to God, when we choose our will over God’s will, things fall apart.
But our reading today shows that God never abandons us. Only 9 chapters of Genesis later, after the fall, God already has a plan to save us.
And that plan is the call of Abram. Our first reading today presents the "rescue mission," the beginning of salvation history. God tells Abram, "Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk to a land that I will show you . . . and I will make you a great nation."
Unlike Adam and Eve, "Abram went as the Lord directed him." Abram obeyed, Abram listened, and the rest is history—the formation of Israel, God’s people—a light to the nations.
The obedience of Abram turned everything around—pivotal—setting in motion a rescue operation that would find its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him!"
Listen to him. Obey him. Choose life, not death. The message of this Lenten season. . . the message of Easter itself—the message that brings life.