First Sunday of Lent
A few years ago I went to a continuing formation conference for priests. Our teacher gave us an insight into original sin and the temptation that led to it. He said that their temptation was not primarily to disobey God, but to become rivals with God. They ate the fruit of the forbidden tree because the demon told them that “the moment you eat it you will become like gods”. (Genesis 3:5) So, our teacher said, ‘original sin is really a sin of rivalry’.
Sadly the rivalry, to which Adam and Eve succumbed, also destroyed the original harmony which God created.
Rivalry is also at the heart of the temptations Jesus faced in the desert. (Luke 4:1-13) The demon’s temptations are intended to drive a wedge between the Father and His Son…making them rivals too. The good news is that Jesus does not bite from that apple. He is at peace with who He is in relationship to the Father.
Unfortunately we have inherited the effects of that kind of original sin. For example, why do I judge someone? Probably because I see myself as better than the person I’m criticizing. Why am I jealous or envious? Because I’m comparing myself to others. Why do I ‘stretch’ the truth or gossip or make myself out to be the hero? Rivalry is at work in all of those things.
What role does rivalry play in your life? What can we do to help restore the harmony that gets disrupted by our rivalries?