The Prelate’s Sermon Sunday, March 6
Today according to the Armenian Church calendar is the second Sunday of Great Lent and is known as the Sunday of Expulsion of our fore-parents from Eden.
I would like to share a few thoughts to make the message of this great mystery covered in antiquity relevant to us.
- This Biblical scene describing the Fall and Expulsion of Adam and Eve (Gen 3) is believed to be a fact by many, though others dismiss it as a fable or as a myth. Nevertheless, the narrative reminds us of the saddest of all tragedies in human history, which may not be grasped or explained in its fullness, yet its gravity became undeniable on the Cross.
- The Expulsion refers to the breaking of mutual love. God so loved the zenith of creation, humanity, that He did not spare anything. He fashioned humanity, male and female, in His own image and likeness, and vivified humanity with His life-giving breath. He further inspired humanity with His Wisdom and Power. Unfortunately, the love of mankind for its Creator was diminished by the love of temptation, leading mankind and its descendants to remain distant from the Creator.
- The Expulsion denotes a disruption of trust. God entrusted mankind to have dominion over the rest of the creation (Gen 1:26). It is true that when compared with other creatures, mankind sometimes seems to be less effective; yet the human ability to think and to create surpasses them all. Again, unfortunately mankind failed to appreciate the incomparable gifts entrusted from God, and in a vain effort to take possession as if it were selfish ownership of the gifts, mankind compromised trust through the deception of the evil one.
- The Expulsion alienated mankind from God, and actually from its own sense of self. Once putting to test God’s commandment, mankind lost the grace of resisting temptation. This first sin of disobedience was followed by other sins such as envy, anger, assassination of brother, etc. Saint Paul, in analyzing this dilemma, describes it objectively and says, “I do not understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I do not do it. Instead, I do what I hate” (Rom 7:15).
- By Expulsion mankind lost the privilege of enjoying God’s presence, that intimacy granted to humanity unconditionally. By replacing the fruit of God’s commandment—Life, Love, Peace— with the fruit of the evil one—Death Hatred, and Turmoil—mankind dug the enormous gap of sinfulness between our caring Father and himself, which was recovered only by the Atonement of the Only Begotten Son of God.
- The Expulsion is the story of every human being who understands themselves apart from the Creator. If the first Adam, by welcoming the advice of the evil one, was exiled from Eden, then the second Adam, who is Jesus Christ, by word and deed renounced the deceptive counsel of the tempter, taught us the Golden rule of “Thy will be done,” instructed us in the art of using the trusted dominion through humble service. By the shedding of His most precious Blood on the tree of death He brought us closer to the Tree of Life.
Having this most loving and pragmatic way to return back to our Heavenly Sweet Home, let us humbly and wholeheartedly pray and lift up the beautiful hymn of this day: “You established the commandment of the sacred fast for the first time in Paradise; the first-created did not observe it, and by eating of the fruit, they tasted the bitterness of sin and death; therefore, grant us, O Lord, to taste the sweetness of your commandments.” And may we hear the blissful welcoming, “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34), praising the All-Holy Trinity. Amen.