Remember, We Are “dust of the earth” Breathed by “His Breath”!

Missionary Weekly Reflection
Sunday, 01 March 2020
Lent Sunday I
Gen. 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Ps. 51:3-4,5-6a,12-13,14,17; Rm. 5:12-19 (long) atau Rm. 5:12,17-19 (short); Mat. 4:1-11

This is a classic story which is often referred as the story of ‘original sin’ or ‘the origin of sin’. The story is begun with the goodness of God to humans. Mortal humans who have been created from the same material as other creatures (ground: Gen. 2: 7,9,19), are now given the ‘distinguishing element’, which is God’s own breath. The breath that gives life (Gen. 2: 7). After that, God creates a beautiful and comfortable living environment for them (Gen. 2: 8) and provides various kinds of good fruit as food (Gen. 2: 9). Complete package: life, home and living.

The temptation of the serpent initially wanted to change the picture of the good GOD. So, it turned around the fact: from the GOD who gave and permitted everything (except eating the fruit of one tree), to the GOD who forbid everything (Gen. 3: 1). The good God, the Giver of freedom, was transformed into a tyrannical God who liked to forbid and hinder human freedom.

The woman did correct the serpent’s opinion, but she exaggerated God’s prohibition about fruit in the middle of the garden: “Do not eat it, not even touch it!” (Gen. 3: 3). The word of God was remembered incorrectly. There was an opened door to be tempted. The professional teaser saw the little chance, which he used to its fullest. Temptation develops when given the chance! The serpent then changed God’s purpose on the prohibition: God wants to fool the human. God does not want to be competed by human. If you eat it, you will be like Him. That is what tempts human the most: to be like God, in order to be able to know everything and live freely without limits!

So, the woman fell into the trap. She ate and gave the fruit to her husband “who was with her” (Gen. 3: 6). Uh, apparently the husband was also at the scene. He also ate the forbidden fruit, without a word coming out of his mouth. The first sin was shared sin, not just the woman’s sin! The nickname of ‘woman as the first sinner’ must have come from male readers!

The consequence of sin is exactly like the serpent’s word: “your eyes are opened” (Gen. 3: 5), not to “know good from evil” but “know that they are naked” (Gen. 3: 7). Nudity that was previously a symbol of openness and relations of not making each other as objects, now became something shameful and dangerous. As a result, they must cover each other and secure themselves with the loin-clothes made from fig leaves. Making their own clothes is a sign of autonomy. They want to be separated from God.

This story teaches us about the essence of sin, which is not believing nor appreciating God’s love. As a result, humans do not want to accept themselves as limited creations. We do not want to be regulated and prefer to be separated from God, in order to live without limits! Lent is a moment to return to our nature as ground-dust: finite and mortal (dust), down to earth and be brothers with all the inhabitants (ground). Don’t forget, the dust of ground is also breathed by His breath of life: in order to continue to repent in order to “resemble” the Creator more!

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
For the Catholics in China: May the Catholics in China endure the constancy of faith to Gospel and grow in unity. We pray…

For Indonesian Churches intention:
Traditional market: May in the midst of modern malls outbreak, the traditional markets can still keep their existence and obtain their living right, so the small merchants can keep going on with their economic activities. We pray…

Special Intention:
We present the Lent: to become the time of conducting training of justice for all the people in our Dioceses. We pray …

Amen

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