385 "Adam, where are you? Where are you, o man? What have you come to?"
Updated: Apr 5, 2021
Day 385 Easter Monday April 5th, 2021
"Adam, where are you? Where are you, o man? What have you come to?"
Jim Fredericks: Reflection for Easter Monday
On 26 May, 2014, during a visit to the State of Israel, Pope Francis visited Yad Vashem, the memorial to those who died in the Holocaust during the Second World War. In his homily that day, Pope Francis meditated on the third chapter of Genesis, the first book of the Torah. There we find the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and their fall into guilt.
The story in Genesis is nothing less than a masterpiece of insight into our humanity and into what has happened to our humanity.
Saint Augustine spoke of our fall out of our original innocence into sin as entering “the land of unlikeness.” We were created in the image and likeness of God. And the God of the Jewish people is nothing less that freedom itself.
This is important: God is freedom itself because God is love. We do not understand freedom. We think of freedom as an escape from limitation. Freedom is only freedom from and nothing more. In the Jewish God, freedom is revealed as love, not some illusory autonomy. Every act of love is a manifestation of God’s freedom because God’s love is always a freely offered gift.
Every single human being has been created in the image and likeness of this freedom. We were created to freely offer ourselves to one another in love.
In every sin there is to be found a rejection of this freedom that God created us to be. We cannot bear to be free to love and thus we must hide from the God who summons us to love and who summons us to embrace the freedom he created us to be.
And thus, Adam and Eve, after “they realized that they were naked,” hid in Garden so that God would not see them.
Then, God enters the Garden, for it was God’s custom to walk with his creature in the Garden in the cool of the day. And God, not finding his creature, calls out to him, “where, Oh Man, are you?”
Adam, in his nakedness and self-hatred, was hiding from his Creator. Human beings have been hiding from God ever since.
All of our pretense, our sanctimonious judgments, our racism and nationalism and our hatreds (petty and not-so-petty) are but expressions of our need to hide from God and to reject the freedom to love that we were created to be.
This is why Pope Francis chose to reflect on the story of Adam and Eve to honor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem. Francis was at Yad Vashem and we are gathered at the foot of the cross on this Good Friday. Let us remember that the cross reveals not only our guilt (or “nakedness”), but also the steadfast love of our Redeemer. In the Garden, God went in search of his creature, saying, “where, Oh Man, are you?” And as he accepted his cross, in an act of loving freedom, Christ our Redeemer has answered God’s call for each and every human being: “Here I am.”
Homily preached by Pope Francis at Yad Vashem on 26 May, 2014
“Adam, where are you?” (cf. Gen 3:9). Where are you, o man? What have you come to? In this place, this memorial of the Shoah, we hear God’s question echo once more: “Adam, where are you?”
This question is charged with all the sorrow of a Father who has lost his child. The Father knew the risk of freedom; he knew that his children could be lost… yet perhaps not even the Father could imagine so great a fall, so profound an abyss! Here, before the boundless tragedy of the Holocaust, that cry – “Where are you?” – echoes like a faint voice in an unfathomable abyss…
Adam, who are you? I no longer recognize you. Who are you, o man? What have you become? What horror have you worked in this world? What has made you fall to such a depth?
Certainly it is not the dust of the earth from which you were made. The dust of the earth is something good, the work of my hands. Certainly it is not the breath of life which I breathed into you. That breath comes from me, and it is something good (cf. Gen 2:7).
This abyss is not merely the work of your own hands, your own heart… Who corrupted you? Who disfigured you? Who led you to presume that you are the master of good and evil? Who convinced you that you were god? Not only did you torture and kill your brothers and sisters, but you sacrificed them to yourself, because you made yourself a god.
Today, in this place, we hear once more the voice of God: “Adam, where are you?” And from the ground there rises up a soft cry: “Have mercy on us, O Lord!” To you, O Lord our God, belongs righteousness; but to us confusion of face and shame (cf. Bar 1:15). A great evil has befallen us, such as never happened under the heavens (cf. Bar 22). Now, Lord, hear our prayer, hear our plea, save us in your mercy. Save us from this horror.
Almighty Lord, a soul in anguish cries out to you. Hear, Oh Lord, and have mercy! We have sinned against you.
You reign forever (cf. Bar 3:1-2). Now, remember us in your mercy. Grant us the grace to be ashamed of what we human beings have done, to be ashamed of this massive idolatry, of having despised and destroyed our own flesh which you formed from the earth, to which you gave life with your own breath of life.
Never again, Lord, never again!
“Adam, where are you?” Here we are, Lord, shamed by what Man, created in your own image and likeness, was capable of doing.
Remember us in your mercy.
Taize Prayer: from Vicki at St. Leo's
I thought you might enjoy the Taize Prayer from Mercy Center/Sisters of Mercy/Sr. Suzanne Toolan. Here is the link.
Enjoy in peace with blessings, Vicki
Federation of Christian Ministries ZOOM:
Examining White Privilege
You are invited to the FCMFC April Zoom Networking meeting, Tuesday
April 6, 2021 at 5 pm Pacific Time. The committee decided to move from providing a theoretical and resource-based approach to a more personal and experiential approach. Therefore, we offer the following ‘topic’ in a “question” format so as to initiate personal sharing, evoking actual experiential stories and personal experiences. In preparation we ask that you read the questions and think of any personal experiences you would like to share.
Day and Time
Tuesday April 6 at 5-6 pm Pacific Time
Please note: We will begin and end promptly
Questions for reflection and sharing at the meeting 1. What are your own early memories and growing up experiences regarding race? 2. What is your “gut reaction” when you hear the phrase “White Privilege?” 3. Share a story or a personal encounter you have had that illustrates a moment of insight, change or discovery in your own personal evolution regarding race or gender issues. 4. Do you belong to a faith community or who do you consider your faith community? In light of that - How do you think your community is responding? What is it learning? How might it move forward from this point?
ZOOM Link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86219796780?pwd=Qnl6VFc2YkJWK2dXYkN5Z3NXSGFsQT09 Passcode: 988490
Meeting ID: 862 1979 6780 One tap mobile Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdOQBeRcQd
Please RSVP to Ginny at <firstname.lastname@example.org> by Monday, April 5.
First They Came
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
— Martin Niemöller
The author was a Lutheran pastor and theologian born in Germany in 1892. This quotation and many variations of it appeared in his public addresses in the 1930’s, and in the 50’s people began to line it out as poetry, which further boosted its popularity.