"Where was Eden?"

April 7th


Dr. Carlyle Marneywas asked by one of his students. Dr. Marneyput down his pen, turned to the college freshman, and replied, "I can tell you exactly, in Tennessee." "What?" gasped the student."Knoxville, Tennessee, 215 South Elm Street," Marneyinsisted. "It was there on Elm Street, when I was a boy, that I stole a quarter out of Mama's purse and ran to the store and bought a bag of peanut clusters and ate it as fast as I could. Afterward, I was so ashamed that I came back home to 215 Elm Street and hid in the closet. Mom found me and asked, 'Why are you hiding? What have you done?'" ["Geography Lesson," Herald of Holiness, February 1996, p. 2]. 

Eden is the place where we knowingly betray and disobey God. Our Eden is that situation or place where we first discover that we suffer from the same disease as Adam and Eve and every other human being in existence. 

In today’s Gospel, the scribes and Pharisees do not remember “their Eden moment.” As a result, they have no compassion and mercy for the woman caught in adultery. "It is a terrible thing for a sinner to fall into the hands of his fellow sinners.” (F. B. Meyer). 

Not only that, they use her as a trap to attack Jesus. If Jesus agrees to the stoning, he violates Roman law, which forbade killing by private citizens. If he takes the side of the adulterous woman, he opens himself to the charge of ignoring the Law of Moses. Naturally, Jesus seizes the moment to reveal God’s inexhaustible mercy. 

Mother Teresa is certainly famous for the charity with which she poured herself out in love for Christ in the distressing disguise of lepers, AIDS victims, the dying and the untouchables.  She was also a great “Missionary of Mercy,” calling everyone to receive Jesus’ forgiving love in the Sacrament of Confession, a Sacrament she received at least once a week. 

“One thing is necessary for us: Confession. Confession is nothing but humility in action. We call it Penance, but really it is a Sacrament of Love, a Sacrament of forgiveness. It is a place where I allow Jesus to take away from me everything that divides, that destroys. Confession is a beautiful act of great love. Only in confession can we go in as sinners with sin and come out as sinners without sin…there’s no need for us to despair, no need for us to commit suicide, no need for us to be discouraged, if we have understood the tenderness of God’s love.  Confession is Jesus and I, and nobody else. Remember this for life.” Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)

Ben Le