When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they received a harsh punishment of pain, hard work, and death. Prominent among the penalties that God assigned to man was the fact that he would have to toil and sweat for his daily bread. Before their sin, Adam and Eve could eat the plants and fruit that God provided in the Garden of Eden; after, Adam and his descendants had to work the land to survive.
As we have seen in different ways in the readings recently, Jesus came to overthrow the power of sin and death by giving us new, supernatural gifts in place of the gifts that Adam and Eve had lost (which were called preternatural gifts). Sin brought physical death; Christ performed miracles of physical healing as a sign that He also brought eternal life and resurrection. Sin damaged the relationship of respect and partnership between man and woman; Christ performed His first miracle at a wedding, and gave us the sacrament of matrimony. Because of sin, God took away man’s source of food in the Garden of Eden and man started to have to work for sustenance; as we see in the Gospel today, Christ multiplied fish and bread to feed the hungry crowd, and to help them understand later when He gave us His own body and blood in the Eucharist.
We all would find life easier if Jesus had simply reversed the effects of original sin and put us back where we started, in an earthly paradise. That would have been nice, but what we received instead ultimately will be far superior. We have suffering and difficulties in this life, but the gifts of being children of God, of receiving God Himself as food in the Eucharist, of being called to go to heaven for all eternity, and all the other spiritual gifts we have received, far outweigh the unpleasantries of this world. We might well ask why we can’t have paradise both on earth and in heaven, but that is a mystery that only God can answer. He knows what He’s doing, and we have to trust that if He still allows us to suffer even when we have been cleansed of original sin, it is to the advantage of our salvation. To Him be glory and praise, now and forever.