Back in the Garden

You are going to thank me after this one.

You know why? Because I am going to save you from the most boring Bible passage that you will ever hear at Mass or a church service or a bible study. Yes, the genealogies.

You know, the long, so-and-so was the father of so-and-so part of the Gospels. What were the Gospel writers thinking?? Well, a lot of things actually. And this is just one of them.

Notice that they start at the beginning: the root is God and Adam. Then, they go generation by generation to, finally, Jesus. You know what it is, it’s a big family tree, and it is rooted in God. OK, great.

Well, let’s go back to Genesis, the beginning. Adam and Eve eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Shouldn’t have done that. But there’s another tree in the center of the garden, the Tree of Life. God kicks them out so they can’t eat the fruit of that tree anymore – and live forever:

And the Lord God said, “Now that the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not be allowed to stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” (Gen 3:22)

So, back to the Gospel genealogies. What are the Gospel writers doing?

You’re looking at the Tree of Life. And the fruit is Jesus. When we eat that fruit, we get the eternal life that Adam and Eve lost.

Now, we can eat the fruit. That can only mean one thing:

We’re back in the garden.

Eating the fruit from the Tree of Life is encountering and engaging with Jesus, actively eating and digesting with our inner capacities the living experience of him in the scriptures, in our life experiences and in the community of disciples, in his body and blood sacramentally in the Eucharist. That’s really the singular thing for us to do as Christians, and the singular thing for us to offer to others.

It’s the what gives all of us eternal life.

And puts us back in the garden.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” (Jn 6:54)

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