Jesus does not talk about the story of Adam and Eve, though Paul does, giving it a powerful interpretation that may overwhelm our initiative to continue to reflect on it. But Paul’s view is not the only way forward here. The Genesis story treats in a sophisticated and subtle way the profound question of disorder in creation: how did it "get" there, what or who caused it, and what is its basic character? Since--often and regrettably--we have a snipped and truncated edition for liturgy, we need to review the whole narrative if we are to read responsibly. The story suggests that disorder was not always there but was primordially present; the disorder was not planned by God but rooted somehow in human choice--though evidently not with full awareness; and that it entails a denial or blocking of solidarity with each other, God, and the rest of creation. A lot is packed in a short space! As the story winds on, the insight is offered that our present condition of disorder is a consequence of something beyond ourselves, which doesn’t mean we don’t participate in it in many ways. But the disorder is bigger than our willed sins or even the perennials that we struggle against. Though he doesn’t talk about the Genesis story, Jesus enacts it. We watch him struggle in some of the same temptations we have, however we might name them, and call on God for help. God’s word is not an antidote or a magic weapon but an ancient way of wisdom for Jesus, for us. The point is to know it well, to reach for it confidently, to trust its access to all we need. Barbara Green, O.P.
1st Sunday of Lent: Year A