Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World prior to a given Sunday. To see the archive of all his posts, just click here: Salesian Sermons
1st Sunday of Lent, Year A | March 8/9, 2014
PROTIP: Before reading on, be sure to take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the first and Gospel readings.
Have you ever noticed how little children have no problem being naked?
They sit there blissfully unaware as mom videotapes them playing in the tub.
They unleash a playful giggle as they escape from dad and the changing table and go scampering down the hall.
And they love the reaction of adults when they proceed to pull up their dress in the middle of a party and flash the room.
Yup, children are comfortable with being naked.
But that doesn’t last, does it?
As we get older, we seem to become more and more conscious of our bodies.
Those baby photos become a source of embarrassment when mom submits them to the yearbook.
We begin to worry about all of our imperfections . . . our wrinkles and creases, our pimples and birthmarks. We are too fat or too thin. We lack muscle tone. We are too pale. We begin to hate our feet or our nose or our voice.
And so, like Adam and Eve, we begin to build our loincloths. To hide, to correct, to eliminate our imperfections. So that the world will see us as we want to be seen, not as we are.
But this process of trying to present an image to the world doesn’t stop with our physical appearance.
We begin to build loincloths for all of the brokenness in our lives.
Our addictions are rationalized away . . . it isn’t hurting anyone, everyone deserves to relax, I know when to stop
Our wounds are ignored and left to fester . . . it’s no big deal. It didn’t matter much to me anyway. I’ll be fine
Our sins are minimized . . . She really overreacted. I’m only human. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. I’m just trying to stay afloat
We build masks that we show to the world that portray a person who is control, who has it all together
Even though our marriage is falling apart
Even though the biopsy came back with a diagnosis of cancer
Even though we just got dumped or cheated on
Even though our loved one is abusing us
Even though the dementia is getting worse
But like Adam and Eve, even after all this work we put into making our loincloths, we still run and hide.
From ourselves. From each other. And from our God.
If this was where the story of Adam and Eve ended, it would be a tragedy of epic proportions.
But it’s not.
For God will seek out Adam and Eve. He will call them out of the darkness into the light. He will remove their loincloths and clothe them in garments that he has made . . .
Garments of light and justice, peace and joy, unconditional love.
The same garments that he has wrapped around each of us in at our baptism.
Garments that he continuously collects from us to wash clean of our accumulated guilt and shame, our sinfulness and our brokenness.
This Sunday marks the beginning of another Lenten season.
40 days in which we are called as Church to listen to the voice of the one who calls to us from the desert.
Calling us to take off our loincloths. To stop running. To stop hiding. To stop pretending.
Calling us to stand before our God and ourselves as we are . . .
Not as we want to be
Not as we believe we should be
But as we are.
Confident that the God who calls us is waiting for us.
Ready to embrace us, to hold us, to comfort us, to heal us.
To love us for who we are at this moment and for who God knows we can be.
And to clothe us.
I think it is time that we answer that call my friends. We’ve got quite a journey ahead. Let’s make sure we are properly dressed.
May God be Praised.