The story of the fall of man continues in the First Reading. God confronts the man for what he has done. When God called the man, the man’s response is: I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself. After he decided what was good and evil, the man’s first response was turned toward himself. In his reply to God, he refers to himself five times. He refers to God once only to blame him. The man heard the sound of God in the garden and he was afraid. He hid because God scared him. Then he continues to blame God because he gave him the woman who gave him the fruit from the tree.
The effect of sin is a turning towards oneself and away from God, out of fear and anger because he blames God for making him sin. The result of this sin is the ground is cursed. Before the sin, the trees bore fruit without any effort from the man. But now, man has to work the ground to eat. Instead of standing to pick fruit from trees, man has to bend down on the ground so trees will bear fruit. Instead of living in dignity as a child of God, he now bends to the ground as a slave to sin. This curse is not from God but is the result of man’s sin. In his mercy, God made garments of skin for the man and his wife. In his mercy, God still loved the man and his wife. He still looked after them.
In the Gospel, Jesus shows, he is restoring the plan of God. He had compassion on the crowd because they had been with him for three days and they have nothing to eat. The disciples asked a valid question: how can one feed these people with bread here in the desert. The disciples knew one has to work to eat. But Jesus had other plans. He asked them how much bread they have. When they told him seven, he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd. The four thousand people were fed and the disciples picked up seven baskets full of leftover. Jesus comes to destroy the works of the devil. He comes to restore us to our original dignity. The feeding of these four thousand show that restoration to our original dignity happens when we follow Jesus. God wants to restore what the first man and woman destroyed. Jesus shows that despite the first man’s rejection of him, God still wants us to live a life where he provides for our needs. This happens only when we come to Jesus.
The people were with Jesus for three days, without eating and Jesus provided them food. How much more will Jesus provide for our needs when we surrender our lives to him and let him take charge of it? For God, what matters is not what happened before in our past. What matters is our decision, whether we will let him take charge of our lives or whether we continue to reject him. When we reject him, we are on our own. God will not save us without our permission. When we surrender our lives to him, he will forgive us, he will heal our wounds and he will give us peace because we will be reconciled with the Father in heaven.
Lord Jesus, I am weary from doing things on my own. I surrender to you my life. Take my past and heal me. I reject whatever has bound me in the past as I allow you to set me free.