Richard S. Vosko

Musings on religion, art and architecture

Homily for Easter 2016 “Go Ahead. Eat the Apple!”

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Easter C – March 26-27, 2016 – “Go Ahead. Eat the Apple!”

Click here for the Easter Vigil scriptures

Click here for the Easter Sunday scriptures

Easter — a cosmic earthy festival. The word itself is derived from Oestre, a mythical goddess of sunrise and spring. In Pope Francis’ words this weekend “we celebrate Christ Risen, the centre and the purpose of the cosmos and of history.”

Our story of salvation begins with God, two people, and a snake. The narrative continues in the Hebrew bible — how God created everything, mercifully saved Isaac, protected and liberated the Israelites, loved and forgave those who sin. On the new testament side we heard that those who trust in God, accept Christ as a model for living and abide by a Spirit-filled energy will be rewarded with eternal life.

We know that the story about creation, Adam and Eve and the snake is a fantastical myth that eludes proof. The legend however helps us to think about making choices in life. Adam and Eve chose to eat from the tree of knowledge thinking it would offer them more possibilities for living. 

Supposing Eve and Adam never ate that apple? Would they and generations to follow live in paradise forever? There would be no original sin or centuries of sinfulness? The flood would not have happened. The Exodus story would make no sense. Jesus would have had no mission. His death and resurrection would have been unnecessary.

What would the world look like today if Adam and Eve did not bite? The global stage would be free of endless, senseless wars. People of color would not be shunned. Women would be treated equally with men. There would be income equity for all classes. Family life would be without quarrels. We would not pollute the earth. Religion would hold no power over people.

But Adam and Eve did bite the apple and now you and I have to make choices of our own. Are we free to do so or are we puppets in the hands of God? Did Adam and Eve have any choice or did the story set us up to think less of ourselves and the world we live in thus preparing the way for a deity who would save us? 

In a provocative essay the author John Gray proposes that when compared with humans, the life of the puppet looks more like an enviable state of freedom. [1] His argument is that marionettes do not have a conscience, they dance above the ground and do not have to worry about what steps they take.

In Gray’s words, instead of becoming an unfaltering puppet we make our way in the stumbling human world. That had to have been the experience of Jesus of Nazareth. He chose the messiness of life, he practiced mercy and justice and died for his convictions. In doing so he left us with a challenge.

What choices do we make that affect not only our lives but those of others? How does our faith in a risen Christ make a difference in society today?

God saw every aspect of creation good — day and night, land and sea, animals and plants, man and woman.“History is no longer meaningless and largely a failure, writes Richard Rohr, but has a promised and positive direction. This creates very healthy, happy, hopeful, and generative people; and we surely need some now. All I know for sure, Rohr writes, is that a good God creates and continues to create an ever good world.” [2]

Go ahead take a big bite of the apple knowing that together we are strong enough to embrace our part in the struggle to make the world a better place.

_________________

1. Gray, John. The Soul of the Marionette. (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 2015

2. Rohr, R. “God’s Victory” <http://www.globalpulsemagazine.com/news/gods-victory/2838>

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Author: Richard S. Vosko

Richard S. Vosko, Ph.D., Hon. AIA, is an internationally known sacred space planner. He is a presbyter in the Diocese of Albany who enjoys the classroom as much as the pulpit. On Sundays he presides at worship at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Albany, NY. For more information on Vosko’s background, his projects, publications and speaking engagements please go to his website. For his homilies and occasional musings about religion, art and architecture go to his blog. Comments, questions and suggestions are always welcomed there.

4 thoughts on “Homily for Easter 2016 “Go Ahead. Eat the Apple!”

  1. What a wonderful opportunity to have read Father V’s homily before attending Easter services! I am energized with the notion of choosing to be a “generative” agent of positive influence in this world of hunger and hurt. I shall look forward to hearing the Easter message on Sunday with this attitude in mind, and ‘Hope-to-Heaven’ that I’ll maintain the courage to Walk My Talk.

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  2. I was inspired by this Easter Homily. Thank you! I’m often inspired at Saint Vincent’s Masses but your suggestion that we try to imagine what the world would be like if Adam and Eve had NOT bitten into the forbidden fruit is a great meditation.
    You also challenged us again to employ our “faith in a risen Christ to make a difference in society today”…and you reminded us about Rohr’s insistence that the world God created is GOOD. We are not by definition, a damaged, imperfect people.
    Thanks again.

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  3. Great challenge! Is this the John Gray of “Mars and Venus”?

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  4. You said: “Go ahead take a big bite of the apple…” Are you implying that we, as Adam and Eve, should let ourselves be tempted by Satan? Living today, we have the fullness of the truth through the Scriptures and teachings of the Church to know enough NOT to “take a big bite.” Sure, we fall to temptation and thank God for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But I think it is quite foolish and harmful to actually advocate a “big bite,” which is essence is an invitation to sin.

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