“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves” (Genesis 3:7).
We know that as soon as Adam and Eve bought into Satan’s lie and ignored God’s command, they immediately felt the effects of their sin: betrayal, guilt and shame, not to mention the nakedness that they felt physically and spiritually. Is it any wonder that they had to run for cover in order to hide themselves from God and from each other? They made an attempt to cover their physical nakedness with “fig leaves,” but there was no way for them to cover the nakedness of their soul as they stood completely exposed before the light of day and the light of God who called out to them, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
Like children who just got caught with their “hands in the cookie jar,” Adam and Eve knew that they were “busted,” but they weren’t going to go down without a fight, and so what did they do? They wiggled and squirmed and tried to lie their way out of this “pickle” by pointing their fingers at someone else. After all, they were “innocent,” so it couldn’t be their fault, right? Adam said, “The woman whom you put here with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.” Eve said, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”
From the very second that Adam and Eve disobeyed God and tried to cover up their disregard for the laws of God, we’ve been tempted from time to time, at least when punishment was sure to follow, to “fudge the truth,” to tell a few white lies or to even tell the biggest lie ever without even blinking an eye. How is it that a lie seems to roll off the tongue quicker and faster than standing up for the truth?
I like what author Bruce Malone states in his article, “The Denial of Guilt”: “We all seem to have the built-in-ability to guard ourselves from the pain of responsibility by denial and justification. To acknowledge guilt is to admit that some payment for the wrongful act is required. … The almost infinite ability of humanity to justify evil is part of the basic nature of sin, which goes back to the foundation of humanity itself. Adam’s response to this was to hide the sin (denial); to blame Eve for the sin (rationalization); and, to refuse to accept responsibility for the sin: ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat’” (justification). – Bruce Malone
As a result of Adam’s sin and the inherent effects of sin (denial, rationalization and justification), is it any wonder that Flip Wilson, the comedian back in the 60s and 70s, coined the phrase, “The Devil Made Me Do It?” Wouldn’t it be great if we could use the devil, Adam and Eve as our scapegoats each and every time we “missed the mark” so that God would not hold any of us accountable for any wrong doing, but would instead place the blame back on Satan? I would definitely be an advocate for this type of “theology” if it really existed, but if the truth be known, it doesn’t. Sad to say, you and I are going to be accountable for all of our words and our actions, either in this life or in the next, according to Matthew 12:35-37. Therefore, it behooves us to listen to the voice of God calling out to you and me today, just as he did with Adam and Eve by asking them, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
With the voice of God calling out to us, “Where are you?” we have an opportunity to come out of hiding, to come out from behind the bushes and to acknowledge our sins, not with the lies of Adam and Eve, but with the courage of King David who eventually heard God calling out to him through his friend, Nathan, and who eventually was able to recognize the severity of his sins of adultery and murder and to ask God for pardon and peace by confessing, “Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me of my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.” (Psalm 51:1-4).
Just as Nathan was able to bring David to the throne of God’s mercy and compassion by getting him to confess his sins and to repent of his crimes, we are blessed to have a “Nathan” within the Catholic Church by the name of Archbishop Carlo Vigano, who is putting the “pedal to the metal” when it comes to confronting Pope Francis and many in the Church hierarchy about the child abuse cases of pedophilia and ephebophilia, not to mention all the cover-ups by some of the bishops.
On Aug. 25, Vigano published an 11-page testimony accusing Pope Francis of complicity in the sexual abuse cover-up surrounding Cardinal McCarrick. In Vigano’s “testimony,” he doesn’t “beat around the bush” or “hide behind the skirt of Holy Mother Church,” but states that he did in fact inform Pope Francis about Cardinal McCarrick’s actions on June 23, 2013, and therefore, Pope Francis definitely became aware of this predator at that time.
Although Vigano is definitely standing up and speaking, he is not the only “Nathan” in the Church who is willing to confront the crimes that have taken place against children, nor is he the only “John the Baptist” in the Church preaching repentance. All the members of the clergy and the laity who are shocked about the abuses that have taken place in the Catholic Church are demanding that a thorough investigation take place within each and every diocese and parish to uncover and expose these crimes for what they are — nothing less than demonic behavior. As investigators search the archives and files of every Catholic Diocese in order to capture predators, may the voice that Adam and Eve heard that day in the Garden ring out all the more, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
Fig leaves, loincloths and/or animal skins can definitely clothe the naked body, but only God can clothe the nakedness of the soul that Adam and Eve felt in the Garden, and that you and I feel whenever we believe the lies of Satan, disobey God’s commands, treat people unfairly or abuse people verbally, mentally, psychologically, spiritually, physically or sexually. If we don’t want to feel the physical and spiritual nakedness that our first parents did, we must be willing to speak the truth and to walk in his light.
“The one who conquers will be clothed in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.” (Revelation 3:5)
You may have heard the story about the pilot who wasn’t willing to take responsibility for the rough landing. As soon as his plane hit the ground and caused all the passengers to scream, he got on the speaker and said, “Sorry for the landing, but I want you to know that it wasn’t my fault — it wasn’t the co-pilot’s fault — it wasn’t the flight attendant’s fault — and it certainly wasn’t the plane’s fault: It was the asphalt!”
The moral of this story is that there are a lot of rough landings in this world, but I want you to know it’s definitely not my fault. I think its Adam and Eve’s fault. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it, but only until I hear God call out to me, “Hey, where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
Rev. Vialpando is the priest at St. Marguerite Catholic Church in Tooele.