1 Lent

The Rev. Noel Bordador

            Everybody nowadays are so excited about the latest computer or iPad or some technological gadget. But, does anybody still remember the good old typewriter? When I was about nine, I was fascinated with my father’s manual typewriter. Well, one day, I snuck up to my father’s office and played with the typewriter. And as I played with it, a sinister thought entered my mind. What if I do something to it that it would cease to be useful? It was not because I was angry at my father. It was more about doing bad simply because I could do it. It was about doing something bad for the sheer pleasure I could do something bad. I remember feeling a variety of emotions: guilt and shame for thinking of doing something bad. I was feeling bad that I would hurt my father by destroying something that belonged to him. I felt fear that I would be punished. However, I also remember feeling very excited with my capability or power to do something bad. Despite the fact that my conscience told me not to the bad thing, I, nevertheless, chose to destroy the typewriter simply because I could do so. Despite the fact I knew what was right and what was wrong, why did I choose to do the very thing that would hurt my father who has shown me only kindness and love?

            God has created us and he made us for himself. We were made for God- that is, we were made to be with God and to live for God. God is our true Home upon whom we can and should rest. Yet, because of our fallen human condition, there is deep within us a rebellious streak. The Psalmist says, “There is a voice of rebellion deep in the [human] heart (Ps 36:1). Today the first reading from the Book of Genesis points to this. Our first human parents- Adam and Eve- rebelled against God who loved them into life. Their sad story is but a description of our human condition to run away from God. There is no reasonable explanation why we ought to reject the love of God freely given, freely offered to us. Yet, that is what we do.

            The story of temptation of Jesus is, I believe, in the end a temptation for Jesus to run away from God, to reject God. In fact, the ultimate temptation for him was to turn away from God and to worship someone else than God. His story is also our story. We are always presented with a variety of temptations in life that lures away from God. There are many things in life that masquerade as God, and compete for our heart’s adoration and worship, and the temptation is to worship at the altar of these false gods. There are so many voices that struggle with one another for our attention, masking themselves to be God’s voice, yet, in truth, they lead us to a place far away from God who is our Home. Ask yourselves what things in your life that might lead you farther from God rather than near thim.

            The second reading from the letter of Paul to Romans presents us with the image of Adam whose rebellion took him farther away from God, and the human Jesus (also the Christ) who did not give in to those things that would have taken him farther from God. Each of them exists in us. Adam lives in us through our tendency towards rebellion and disobedience, but through Baptism, Christ also lives in us and breathes in us the Spirit who can assist us to overcome those things that will take us far away from God. Paul reminds us that we can choose to be like Christ and not be like Adam, our first father. Yet, human experience tells us that we will probably vacillate between the old Adam and the new Adam, between rebellion and obedience. It is an inevitable part of our sinful human condition to slip into the old Adam. Yet, despite of this, God beckons us, God calls us always home. Even in those times when we ran away from God, or feel far away from God, God is always searching for us to take us back home. The greatest temptation of all is to believe that God will somehow stop loving us because when we’ve done something wrong. The Evil One would want us to think that because such a thought of hopelessness and spiritual despair will indeed lead us far from God. But we hold true that when we feel lost at times our way to him, God will come looking for us and bring us home for God made us and God has made us for himself, and he will not rest until we come home.