Dear Parish Family and Friends,
Last month our GOYA boys were in Dayton playing in the basketball tournament. Even though I have been going to the tournament as a priest for 15 years I still end up getting lost. These days it is much easier to get around because of GPS. Back before GPS when we would get lost the best thing to do was ﬁgure out how we got where we were. . .meaning where we went wrong; where did we take the wrong turn. Sometimes that meant retracing our steps and starting over. I mention this to you because many times the same is true in our spiritual lives. When we make a mistake we must look and see where we went wrong, where we took a wrong turn to get into the situation we are currently in. Last month, on the Sunday before Lent we celebrated Forgiveness Sunday. One of the themes of that Sunday is the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. This theme is a reminder of how we got to where we are. It is a reminder of the wrong tum that was taken and that Lent is an exercise in getting back to God.
In one of the readings from Orthros we hear these words, “Adam was evicted from Paradise as one disobedient, after partaking of its luxury”. These words remind us of what their sin was, it was the sin of disobedience. Adam and Eve were unable to follow the rules, the wrong turn they took was their inability to be obedient to God. Due to this, sin and death have entered into the world. The interesting thing is that even though they disobeyed God, He still gave them a chance to come back. In the scripture we read the following, “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” These verses, this scene of God calling Adam, is one of my favorites. It reminds me very much of my children. When they make a mistake I call out to them as well, maybe not as nicely as God, but I call their names hoping they will tell me what happened. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve, like my children chose not to repent. They chose to blame. They blamed each other and even God. God asks the same question to each of us, “where are you”? Father Thomas Hopko once wrote, “The question asked by the Lord of Adam in his sin is the question that is asked of every one of us at the beginning of Lent and throughout the season: Adam, where are you? Where is your heart? What do you live for? What do you love?”
My Friends and my family, this is the very question we must ask ourselves during Lent. Where am I with regard to my relationship with God? Where am I with regard to my relationship with others? Where am I with regard to my family, friends, and spouse? The final question is how do I get back? The answer is not alone. We begin this journey looking to Christ. We begin this journey looking to Christ who is the new Adam. We begin this journey knowing that alone we cannot, but with Christ we can.
As we continue with our Lenten journey let us remember we are being asked the same question that Adam and Eve were asked, Where are you? Where are you in your relationship with Christ and how will you came back or make it stronger? Let us continue our Journey back looking to Christ for strength. A blessed Lent!