Memorial of Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop

Even after Adam and Eve distance themselves from their Creator, God comes to them in the simplicity of their original relationship and offers them the chance to return to that love where they were known fully and had nothing to hide. The Lord calls out, “Where are you?” The question is simple enough, but Adam gives a complicated answer, one that offers an excuse rather than a simple, “here I am.” So often with us, too, complications are merely refined obfuscations. Instead of answering the question that love poses, we seek to defend our ill-gotten gains, to which we are foolishly attached.

God created us to exist in a profound union with him and with one another. When we reject the path that God offers us and grasp after a path apart from him, we end by isolating ourselves from God and from one another. And yet, God’s invitation, God’s “where are you?” resounds through the ages even to our day, making its way even into our lives. If we bring something that we have hidden in the darkness into God’s light, then it no longer has the power over us that it had in the darkness, because God’s light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. God offers Adam one more chance to return to the light by asking him to admit that he has eaten of the forbidden fruit. And yet, instead of taking responsibility for his actions in a way that would have brought his actions to the light of God’s love, Adam closes himself off further from love by blaming Eve for his sin.

Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, but, often enough, we refuse to give him the sins that he would gladly take away from us because we refuse to acknowledge our own responsibility for our actions. We can always “pass the buck” and justify our actions by blaming someone else for them. When we do so, however, instead of loving our neighbors, we increase their burdens, and thereby further alienate ourselves from God. In the meanwhile, as we justify our own actions, these actions become more and more unjust, and the weight of humanity’s guilt and alienation from God increases more and more.

Only one man does not blame anyone else for his actions or justify any personal evil on the basis of evil done to him. This man is, of course, the Just One, the Christ. At the end, someone has to take responsibility for the sins of man, and that man is God. Since the “buck stops with him,” will we continue to “pass the buck” and blame others for our actions, or will we have the courage to humbly present our faults to the one who is broken for us? If we can do this, then we may receive some share in Christ’s mission of redemption, for once we open ourselves to God’s grace of transparency, we can cease accusing our neighbors (Satan is, after all, the accuser) and instead help to carry their burdens in Christ, and so assist them along the path to salvation that God opens to us.

February 14th, 2015