Friday, March 3, 2017

First Sunday in Lent (cycle A) March 5, 2017

From Scott Hahn   

Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7  (See the video below, it tells the whole story  <3) 
Psalm 51:3-6; 12-14,17  Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned..
Romans 5:12-19  For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous. More commentary from the Navarre Bible below! Great stuff. It digs deep.
Matthew 4:1-11  (40 days/nights, devil tempts Jesus, Jesus says, "Get away from me Satan, devil disappears and angels appear)

In today's Liturgy, the destiny of the human race is told as the tale of two "types" of men -- the first man, Adam, and the new Adam, Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 15:21-2245-59).

Paul's argument in the Epistle  (Romans 5:12-19) is built on a series of contrasts between "one" or "one person" and the "many" or "all."  By one person's disobedience, sin and condemnation entered the world, and death came to reign over all. By the obedience of another one, grace abounded, all were justified, and life came to reign for all.

This is the drama that unfolds in today's First Reading and Gospel. 

Formed from the clay of the ground and filled with the breath of God's own Spirit, Adam was a son of God , (see Luke 3:38created in his image (see Genesis 5:1-3). Crowned with glory, he was given dominion over the world and the protection of His angels (see Psalms 8:6-891:11-13). He was made to worship God -- to live not by bread alone but in obedience to every word that comes from the mouth of the Father.
Adam, however, put the Lord his God to the test. He gave in to the serpent's temptation, trying to seize for himself all that God had already promised him. But in his hour of temptation, Jesus prevailed where Adam failed—and drove the devil away. 

Still we sin after the pattern of Adam's transgression. Like Adam, we let sin in the door (see Genesis 4:7when we entertain doubts about God's promises, when we forget to call on Him in our hours of temptation.
But the grace won for us by Christ's obedience means that sin is no longer our master.
As we begin this season of repentance, we can be confident in His compassion, that He will create in us a new heart (see Romans 5:5Hebrews 8:10). As we do in today's Psalm, we can sing joyfully of our salvation, renewed in His presence. We read in today's Gospel that Christ was "led by the Spirit into the desert."
(From Priests and Brothers of Miles Christi)

We read in today’s Gospel that Christ “was led by the Spirit into the desert.”  Just as Moses, Elijah, and the prophets had done, Christ prepared Himself for his public life. He did it with fasting and prayer, in withdrawal and silence, away from other men.

The devil finds three “weak points” in us, three open wounds, which are our inheritance from original sin. They are three outlets of our person that become the devil’s accomplices: 

a) A thirst for sensual delights or desires of the flesh, that makes us horrified at the thought of suffering and which leads us to prefer to enjoy ourselves a little more rather than to be faithful to God. 

b) A greed for earthly goods, which is never satisfied, reinforced by the worldly conviction that “one must become as rich as possible.” 

c) Finally, the pride of life, through which we resist obeying God and His Law, thinking that we are wiser than He is. Within all of these concupiscences is concealed, hidden within our soul, that demonic temptation “You will be like gods”   (Gen 3:5).

Satan promises man the omnipotence of God, in other words, complete self-sufficiency and independence. A clear deception is hidden in that promise because all the grandeur of man comes from his possibility of choosing God, in whose image he was created!  

Christ’s departure into the desert to be tempted by Satan teaches us that in this world everyone has temptations. However, with the grace of God we can certainly resist them. Let us look at our King who pushed forward in our favor and fights for us. Let us follow Him courageously. May no one allow himself to be intimidated by trials! 



More on Romans 5:12-19 from the Navarre Bible:
From: Romans 5:12, 15, 17-19, 20-21
Adam's Original Sin
[12] Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and deaththrough sin, and so death spread to all men because all men
[15] But the free gift is not like the trespass.  For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.
[17] If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace
and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
[18] Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.
[19] For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by One Man's obedience many will be made righteous.  
[20] Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
 [21] so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1) Adam's sin and its consequences, which include, particular death (verses 12-14); 
2) the contrast between the effects of Original Sin and those of the Redemption wrought by Christ (verses 15-19); 
3) the role of the Law of Moses in relation to sin (especially verses 13, 20), anticipating what is explained more elaborately in Chapter 7; 
4) the final victory of the reign of grace (verses 20-21).  These teachings are closely connected by one single idea: only Jesus Christ can justify us and bring us to salvation.  The Apostle refers to Adam as a "type of the
One who was to come", that is, Jesus, the Messiah, who is the true head of the human race; and he also stresses that Christ, by His obedience and submission to the Father's will, counters the disobedience and rebellion
of Adam, restoring to us--superabundantly--the happiness and eternal life which we lost through the sin of our First Parents.
Here we can see the clash of the two kingdoms--the kingdom of sin and death and the kingdom of righteousness and grace.  These two kingdoms were established, the first by Adam and the second by Christ, and spread
to all mankind.
Because the superabundance of Christ's grace is the more important factor, Adam's sin is referred to in no great detail.  St. Paul takes it as something everyone is familiar with.  All Christians have read about or been told about the account of the Fall in Genesis (Genesis 3) and they are familiar with many passages in Sacred Scripture which confirm and explain something which is self-evident--that all men are mortal and that the human race is subject to a whole series of afflictions (cf. Sirach 25:33; Wisdom 2:23-24; Psalm 51:7; Job 14:4; Genesis 8:21; etc.).
12-14. This passage can be elaborated on as follows: just as sin entered the world through the action of a single individual man, so righteousness is attained for us by one man--Jesus Christ.  Adam, the first man, is a
type of the "new Adam": Adam contained within himself all mankind, his offspring; the "new Adam" is "the first-born of all creation" and "the head of the body, the Church" (Colossians 1:15, 18) because He is the
redeeming Word Incarnate.  To Adam we are linked by flesh and blood, to Christ by faith and the Sacraments.
When, in His infinite goodness, He raised Adam to share in the divine life, God also decreed that our First Parent would pass on to us his human nature and with it all the various gifts  that perfected it and the
grace that sanctified it.  But Adam committed a sin by breaking God's commandment and as a result he immediately lost the holiness and righteousness in which he had been installed, and because of this
disloyalty he incurred God's wrath and indignation and, as consequence, death--as God had warned him.  By becoming mortal and falling under the power of the devil, Adam "was changed for the worse", in both body and
soul (cf. Council of Trent, "De Peccato Originali", Canon 1).  From then on Adam and his descendants pass on a human nature deprived of supernatural gifts, and men are in a state of enmity with God, which means that they cannot attain eternal beatitude.
The fact of Original Sin is a truth of faith.  This has been stated once again solemnly by [Pope] Paul VI: "We believe that in Adam all have sinned.  From this it follows that, on account of the original offense
committed by him, human nature, which is common to all men, is reduced to that condition in which it must suffer the consequences of that Fall [...].  Consequently, fallen human nature is deprived of the economy of
grace which it formerly enjoyed.  It is wounded in its natural powers and subjected to the dominion of death which is transmitted to all men.  It is in this sense that every man is born in sin.  We hold, therefore, in
accordance with the Council of Trent, that Original Sin is transmitted along with human nature, "not by imitation but by propagation", and is, therefore, incurred by each person individually" ("Creed of the People of
God", 16).
Our own experience bears out what divine Revelation tells us: when we examine our conscience we realize that we have this inclination towards evil and we are conscious of being enmeshed in evils which cannot have
their source in our holy Creator (cf. Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 13). The obvious presence of evil in the world and in ourselves convince us of the profound truth contained in Revelation and moves us to fight against sin.
"So much wretchedness!  So many offenses!  Mine, yours, those of all mankind....
"Et in peccatis concepit me mater mea!"  In sin did my mother conceive me! (Psalm 51:5).  I, like all men, came into the world stained with the guilt of our First Parents.  And own sins: rebellions, thought about, desired, committed....
"To purify us of this rottenness, Jesus chose to humble Himself and take on the form of a slave (cf. Philippians 2:7), becoming incarnate in the spotless womb of our Lady, His Mother, who is also your Mother and mine.
He spent thirty years in obscurity, working like everyone else, at Joseph's side.  He preached.  He worked miracles....  And we repaid Him with a cross.
"Do you need more motives for contrition?" ([Blessed] J. Escriva, "The Way of the Cross, IV, 2).


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