Today’s reading from Genesis directs us toward the beginning of salvation history. Adam and Eve had just eaten the fruit they were forbidden to eat. They heard God moving about in the garden and hid themselves in fear. They now realized they were naked. It’s an interesting observation because until this time covering themselves did not seem to concern them. Their guilt and shame overtook their knowledge that God loved them unconditionally.
They began to blame each other and the serpent who tricked Eve. It seems we have inherited so much more than “Original Sin.” We now have a sense of shame, wanting to hide in fear from God’s love, and the propensity to blame others for our own faults and failings.
In their fear, Adam and Eve could not possibly envision the scene that John paints for us in today’s gospel reading. As Jesus is dying on the cross he gives his own mother to become mother to all Christians as personified in “the disciple whom he loved.” What a comforting image that is. We now have a mother who will love us as dearly as she loved Jesus and intercede for us, even if we feel totally unworthy of such gracious care and protection.
Then, as a lance is thrust into Jesus’ side, immediately the blood and water of forgiveness flow freely. It is no wonder that Saint Paul of the Cross called the Passion of Jesus the greatest act of God’s love for us! We no longer need to cower in fear and trembling because we have been bathed in the waters of Baptism and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in Eucharist. We have the grace of Reconciliation when we fail to do God’s will, do not love or when we eat forbidden fruit and blame another for giving it to us. May the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts.