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No More Hiding

Saturday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Genesis 3:9-24

The LORD God called to Adam and asked him, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with meB
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”
The LORD God then asked the woman,
“Why did you do such a thing?”
The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:

“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
On your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.”

To the woman he said:

“I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing;
in pain shall you bring forth children.
Yet your urge shall be for your husband,
and he shall be your master.”

To the man he said: “Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat,

“Cursed be the ground because of you!
In toil shall you eat its yield
all the days of your life.
Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you,
as you eat of the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
shall you get bread to eat,
Until you return to the ground,
from which you were taken;
For you are dirt,
and to dirt you shall return.”
The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

For the man and his wife the LORD God made leather garments,
with which he clothed them.
Then the LORD God said: “See! The man has become like one of us,
knowing what is good and what is evil!
Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand
to take fruit from the tree of life also,
and thus eat of it and live forever.”
The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden,
to till the ground from which he had been taken.
When he expelled the man,
he settled him east of the garden of Eden;
and he stationed the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword,
to guard the way to the tree of life.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 90:2, 3-4ABC, 5-6, 12-13

R. (1) In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Before the mountains were begotten
and the earth and the world were brought forth,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

Gospel: Mark 8:1-10

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,
Jesus summoned the disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
because they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes,
they will collapse on the way,
and some of them have come a great distance.”
His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread
to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”
Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”
They replied, “Seven.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,
and gave them to his disciples to distribute,
and they distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them
and ordered them distributed also.
They ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets.
There were about four thousand people.

He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples
and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

NAB

I was cooling down after a class at the gym, leaning into one final stretch and thinking about my body. It’s hard not to when you’re surrounded by so many fit folks, and I was torn between pride over my hard work these past few months and discouragement over where I was presently. I still had so far to go; would it ever be enough?

It was in this moment of unguarded reflection that the Lord took His que: “Who told you that you were ugly?”

God rephrased that famously tender question asked of Adam and Eve right there in the middle of my gym time. And I knew immediately: Me.

Louder than any schoolyard bully, mean girl or ex-boyfriend, our own inner voices can make for our worst critics.

In the story of creation, God’s handiwork becomes more complex with each day, culminating with the creation of Eve. Like Eve, we women are the crown of creation. Women reflect the beauty, generosity, and nurturing nature of our Lord in a unique way.

And yet, with all these gifts, we can sometimes struggle to see our own beauty and inherent dignity. The enemy, too, is particularly good at assaulting us in those vulnerable places. Life experience may even seem to stack up against us as evidence of our unworthiness, and soon we’re believing the lies.

It can be a brutal battle for our hearts, but God is a kind and determined Father who never tires of the fight. Again and again He pursues us to remind us of the truth of who we are.

Adam and Eve hid from God in the Garden. He knew where they were, of course, but still He came looking for them. And just like He came for me that day at the gym, He’s coming for you today.

There’s no need to hide from Him, He is such a gentle Father. Come out and let Him tell you how good you are, how beautiful.  You are good. You are beautiful. You are loved.

Come out and be loved.

Is there a particular insecurity or negative thought that dogs you? Ask God if it’s true. Ask Him how He sees you.

Beth Davis is a lover of Jesus, an aunt to five beautiful humans, and a full time youth minister in Flagstaff, Arizona. She is passionate about winning the hearts of young people for Jesus through discipleship. You can find out more about her here.

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