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Homily on Obedience

After the fall, Adam and Eve found themselves at an impasse. "They heard God walking in Paradise," say the Scriptures, "and they were afraid and hid themselves"! (Gen. 3:9). Previously, however, when they had not sinned against God, why weren't they afraid of Him? Was this, perhaps, the only time God walked in Paradise? Was this the only time He approached them as transgressors? Since they were His genuine children, didn't He visit them and walk in Paradise? But they were not afraid of Him then because their conscience did not reprehend them; it was full of tranquility and peace, and so they also remained at peace.

So, "As God was walking in Paradise, they both hid themselves, for they were afraid of God." God said to them, "Adam and Eve, where are you? Where have you hidden?"

What could they say to God now?

"Adam, why did you hide?"

"I was afraid," said Adam. "I heard You walking in Paradise, and I was afraid."

"But why should you be afraid? Are you afraid of your Father, your Creator, your Benefactor? Are you afraid of Me approaching, Who out of boundless divine love gave you an entire Paradise? Happiness Itself, the Fountain of life, joy, and peace approaches and you are afraid?"

"Yes," replied Adam. "I am afraid because I made a mistake. But it's not my fault; it's Eve's, that woman You gave me. She's the one who pushed me, who urged me to, and then I transgressed Your commandment and ate the forbidden fruit."

"Eve," said God, "why did you deceive your husband? Why did you eat it?"

"It's not my fault," said Eve. "The serpent---which You, of course, created and put here in Paradise---is the one that told me to eat. And he told me that if I ate this fruit I would become equal to God and would know good and evil."

One sees here outright egotism and back talk. Egotism results in back talk in the mind and heart. It rises up against God and indirectly throws the responsibility on Him.

So, since God did not see repentance or hear an apology, He immediately ordered their exile. This dialogue between God and Adam and Eve gives us the precious advice and teaching that God does not abandon man when he transgresses His commandment. He does not condemn him immediately, but He approaches him. But how does He approach him? Man doesn't hear Him walking, as Adam did! I, however, hear him very distinctly reproving me and saying to me, "You did badly here. There you did not do well. Why are you doing this?" Through our conscience God cries out, "Repent; you are human."

Man is easily corrupted; he falls easily; he is changeable, mutable, prone to fall. God knows this because He formed us. He made us human. But He also gave us the grace to repent; He has given us the power to arise. Why didn't you do this? When He reproves you through your conscience and exhorts you through the Scriptures to repent, and you do not do so, then the condemnation and punishment begin.