In today’s 1st reading we have the classic story of “forbidden fruit.” God has not put a heavy burden on Adam and Eve since He permits them to eat of all the fruit except one: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden…”
Temptation and sin are often seeking what I think will be good and desirable as Adam and Eve “…saw that the tree was good for food, and pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom…” So, sin is not always just choosing something I know is evil or bad but choosing what is at least temporally “good,” or “pleasing,” or “desirable.” Our typical human response to sin is to try to hide ourselves from God as Adam and Eve do as the Lord is “moving about them in the garden.”
God comes not only for judgment but also for forgiveness and for healing. This message is constant in the Old Testament and made even more concrete in the incarnation: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17).
The hymn, “Amazing Grace,” proclaims this same message of God’s love and mercy. This hymn is based on Paul’s letter to the Romans (7:19-25) where Paul reflects on the slavery of sin and the freedom of grace:
“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do…So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”