Good morning, everyone. The turn of the Twentieth Century, there was a very famous Jewish philosopher. His name was Martin Buber. And Martin Buber, who thought about many things in the world and really why things are the way they are and why people act the way they are, found his own religious tradition as a place to understand a little bit about human psychology. And being Jewish, he looked at the Genesis account of the creation of man and the fall of man as being a way to understand what seems to trip us up as people.
Now all of us know that the story of Adam and Eve is a way for us to spiritually understand our origin. And while we can debate as to exactly how much this is grounded in science and history, that is secondary to the importance of how we can understand the way that God creates us in love, and also how we men and women – created men and women – fail to respond and love to God.
Buber makes the point that the great sin of Adam, it’s not just simply that he was disobedient or not just simply because he desired to do something that was bad. His desire for something that was bad is what wrecks his relationship with God. Buber makes the point that what Adam was seeking was something good. If it wasn’t something good, then he would not have actually have pursued it. And what was the good that Adam was trying to seek in the garden? Like you might remember from that story ,it’s the serpent who says that if your should eat of this particular fruit you will become like God.and know what is good and what is bad. And therefore what Adam’s great sin is is actually knowing that he was doing something good – knowing that he was doing something good.
Now what does he mean by that? Well, prior to this encounter, what we can conclude is that Adam was always participating and doing the good. He knew nothing other than the good. But what he did not know was that he was actually doing the good. Kind of an example would be, imagine if you were always were in a place of light. There is always just brightness everywhere around you. If you always experience that, you would not even know that there was something other than brightness . Of course, it’s when the lights go off or when the sun goes down that we are able to make the distinction between brightness and darkness.
Adam was in a place of light, of goodness, yet he did not know that it was good. So his desire to want to know the good is actually where Adam’s fault lies. Now what is this really mean and what’s the takeaway here and why is it bad to know that you are doing something good or that you’re partaking of something good? Clearly all of us want to get better in life and the only way to get better is to be able to make assessments as to how good you are in the present, and what you need to do to improve.
Yet when we come to looking at the Gospel today, we’re able to get a glimpse as to why this is extremely problematic in the spiritual life. This sense of self-assessment, while we may think it’s very valuable, can actually trip us up and lead us to a place known as spiritual pride. It’s exactly what ends up happening when the Disciples, who seemed to make a very noble request, say increase our faith. All of us would probably resonate with the Disciples saying, if we could only believe more, if we could only have more confidence that God is active in my life, that God is active in the world. When I’m suffering or going through pain, or when I see just to letdowns of families and friends and all the craziness that happens in my life and I just had more faith that somehow God would see me through. Increase my faith, Lord. I do believe – help my unbelief, as we hear a different portion of scripture. How would this not be a noble request?
But Jesus seems to throw and put everything on the other side, meaning he says that faith isn’t your own project. Faith isn’t something that you need to possess and do and to increase. Faith is actually a response to what is. A response to who God is.
This is exactly why Jesus use this is this very interesting story when he talks about the servants. He says if a servant goes out and does his work, is he to be rewarded for his work or is he expected to just actually accept the fact he did exactly what he was supposed to do? He was able to just be who he’s meant to be. This ultimately here is exactly what faith in our lives is meant to be: a recognition of just simply who we are in light of God. Because faith ultimately is recognizing that God the Father has been faithful to us. God the Father is the one who is in a certain sense a servant to us. God the father is the origin of all life. He is giving us our life. He sustains our life. And He leads us safely to the conclusion of our life here on Earth with the promise of life to continue a glorified perfected state. All of the actions so to speak of Life comes from God. God’s ever faithfulness to us.
Just use another simple analogy: we all know that none of us make the sun rise in the morning. We all know that tomorrow the sun will come up. There’s a certain faithfulness that the sun has to us: it’s reliable, it’s constant, and even when we don’t see it clearly because of being a cloudy day, it’s still there. Granted, the sun is also part of creation, but it can be used as a very strong analogy and understanding the persistent presence of God’s faithfulness in our life. We don’t have to do anything in order to make the sun rise, and when the sun rises, none of us should be taking a certain type of complement or congratulations because we’ve done something to facilitate it. We simply are able to be basking in the goodness of the Sun, and perhaps this is exactly what we can also think about when we look back on our lives.
Of course there’s always a great danger looking backwards, because many times we start thinking about our regrets, and we can think about how we failed in the past. If only we did things differently would our life be different now, but if we look at our past and we think about certain moments we thought that all hope was lost that there didn’t seem to be any way out, that we just thought that we backed ourselves in a corner, you pretty much can almost guarantee that today we’re able and living to tell the tale , because the faithfulness of God prevailed, that somehow, in some way we got through whatever that was in the past which we thought was almost the end of the line.
So looking back at our past can actually reveal the faithfulness of God to us. This ultimately is how Jesus says our faith should be on our end. Not this idea that it’s something that we just have to do, not this idea in the sense that it’s something to show jumper to God that we’re getting it or as if there’s something some type of tyrant or some type of big boss that we have to somehow please and we just have faith that he’s going to somehow do it the essence of the faith life is to become the smallest of seeds: the mustard seed. To understand that ultimately in our relationship with God we are very very small very very insignificant practically nothing but that’s not meant for us to feel down on ourselves it only reveals how much God loves, God loves inconsequential us. The more we become who we are the created beings that we are the very insignificant pieces of creation The more we are able to have the faith life that Jesus offers, because what Jesus offers us, its not us knowing that we’re progressing in our faith life or progressing and knowing that we’re doing something good, but just allowing ourselves to be. And by being we’re able to be exactly how we were created all of the Gospel teaches us is how to bring ourselves back into right relationship with God.
Yet it’s not about us going back to the garden with Adam and living in the paradise that existed in Genesis the paradise that Martin Buber spent much time reflecting upon. It’s about moving beyond paradise, knowing that who we are despite our sins despite our Brokenness is still completely lovable by God and that is a far greater take away then Adam could ever take away at the beginning of time. When we live in darkness, when we live in times of confusion, when we live in times of suffering, it is a time to just be, and by being, we are who were called to be: faithful sons and daughters of a loving faithful father, we experience that faithfulness of God love today as we received Him in His son in the Eucharist.
May God bless you .