The questions posed in today’s first reading always hit me in the gut. First, we see God’s first question in all of sacred Scripture. He calls out to Adam and asks, “Where are you?”
This is after Adam and Eve disobeyed God and listened to the voice of the enemy. They turned away from God’s trustability and fell into the serpent’s deception. But in taking matters into their own hands, they broke not just a ‘rule’, but God’s heart. He created them out of love, in a plan of sheer goodness, as we learn in the Catechism. But they ultimately didn’t trust Him and that plan of goodness. When they hear God entering the garden, they go into hiding.
Now, I think it’s fair to say God had a bird’s eye view of the garden. He created Adam and Eve and every tree in the garden … plus there wasn’t exactly a ton of naked people running around at this point. I think He knew exactly where Adam was, and yet He asks, “Where are you?”
Perhaps this is to prompt Adam to reflect on where he is in relationship to God. He’s hiding from the One who created him and loves him. Clearly, something has gone wrong.
Adam tells God that they heard him coming but were afraid because they were naked, and therefore went into hiding. God’s next question strikes me as powerfully as the first. “Who told you that you were naked?”
See, this isn’t information that God had given them. He never told them they were naked. Their nakedness was nothing to be ashamed of, especially in front of their creator. So when God hears Adam say this, He knows they’ve been listening to someone else’s voice besides His own. Again, perhaps God points this out to make Adam realize what’s happened. He listened to another voice besides God’s, and he let that voice define him.
Let’s fast forward to the Gospel, where the word of God (this time through an angel) greets another person. This time, it’s a young woman named Mary. She is greeted, “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you.” Even though this bizarre greeting makes her wonder what it might mean, she responds with trust and openness to the rather unbelievable announcement the angel makes. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t have questions, like when she asks “How can it be?” But still, the invitation of the Father brings her peace. She takes Him at His word. She gives her “fiat”, her yes, as she replies “Let it be done unto me according to your word.” And thank God she did, because that’s why we have a Christmas season to look forward to this Advent.
My prayer for us is that we’ll learn to trust the voice of the Father. That we’ll lean into His promises – even when we don’t understand His ways. He is always working for our good, and if we can just keep saying yes, we’ll keep seeing His plans unfold. They’ll be better than anything we could’ve planned ourselves.
Dom Quaglia is a speaker and author serving at parish missions, retreats, private events, and conferences throughout the world. His speaking and writing have helped people of all ages lean further into the gospel and apply it to their lives. Dom co-founded THE TEN TEN GROUP to reveal to every person their potential to become fully alive. When he’s not on the road speaking, he can be found playing music or laying in the sun with his wife, Sarah, and their two iPhones.