That face that this actor is making right there? Yeah, that’s basically how I looked at my dinner at our Catholic Campus Ministry (CCM) dinner on Ash Wednesday after fasting that whole day. If I could only have one full meal that day, I was going to take advantage of that fish fry that we had that night!! I’ll admit: By the time my 3:30 class rolled around, I was getting hungry, and watching my classmates eat their snacks during a film did not help at all. I was pretty much tempted to say, “Screw it,” go to a vending machine, and pull the line from our Responsorial Psalm from this week: “Be merciful, O Lord, for [I] have sinned.”
But our Lord couldn’t do the same thing that I wanted to do. Well, I suppose He could have, if Satan is going to dare him to do it (“…command that these stones become loaves of bread.”). But the point is that He didn’t; instead, the Lord chose to slave through ALL forty days–as opposed to just one–and suffer….suffer like He did on the way to Calvary, which we’ll be celebrating in a little over a month.
We call Jesus “the new Adam.” When I was little, I always wondered how we could just give God this human title. However, this week’s readings clearly illustrate just why this title is given to Jesus: It’s not a title, but, rather, a juxtaposition. According to Genesis as seen in our first reading, Adam did what I wanted to do on Wednesday: He wanted to eat. It looked good, and God made it sound good; therefore, it must be good! ….right?
Well, if you were a Roman asking St. Paul, he’d say no….in fact, St. Paul pretty obviously says, “He screwed us over.” What makes me paraphrase it that way? Well, I don’t know about you, but “death [coming] to all men” probably isn’t a good thing.
Continuing on with St. Paul, even if there was someone who did not sin since Adam, that person could not save humanity. Much like a specific person messed up, a specific person is needed to make it up: Jesus Christ.
The juxtaposition between Christ and Adam is this: For St. Paul, Adam was disobedient, which messed everyone up, but Christ was the opposite of Adam, and thus, through His obedience, saved everyone.
Mary, as the new Eve, can be seen in a similar light: Eve, speaking to Satan, hesitated at first and then said, “Yes,” to Satan; our Blessed Mother, speaking to the Lord through Gabriel, did not hesitate at all with her fiat (“yes”). Eve’s “yes” doomed the whole human race, while Mary’s “yes” saved it.
What do all of these things have to do with us? I think the secret lies within our responsorial psalm. (That’s right, the one part of the Mass we probably chill through.) How? Our Lord and Lady saving us is all fine and dandy, but why ought we still say, “Be merciful, O Lord?”
For as long as I want to pull an Adam and disobey God, I’m going to have to pray this psalm, and I think that applies to all of us. So, by Sunday, we’ll be 5 days into Lent, and even though Sundays don’t count, I hope that we’re not banking on Sunday to go nuts with whatever we gave up.
Pope St. Leo the Great wanted people to not just give up on food and drink for Lent, but completely renounce sin. And I think it is fair to say that the Lord would want the same thing. Therefore, let’s do that: If you’ve messed up already in these last few days, keep trying; if you’re doing well, keep doing well; if you think your “challenge” is too easy (or you picked it because it was easy), then go deeper. This is the season to do that. This is the season to say, “Be merciful, O Lord,” and, from there, stray no more. By doing this, we can hope the devil can leave us alone and then to be attended by angels.
Originally posted on Blogger on 3/4/2017