Sin entered the world through one man, and through sin death, and thus death has spread through the whole human race because everyone has sinned. Sin existed in the world long before the Law was given. There was no law and so no one could be accused of the sin of ‘law-breaking’, yet death reigned over all from Adam to Moses, even though their sin, unlike that of Adam, was not a matter of breaking a law.
Adam prefigured the One to come, but the gift itself considerably outweighed the fall. If it is certain that through one man’s fall so many died, it is even more certain that divine grace, coming through the one man, Jesus Christ, came to so many as an abundant free gift. The results of the gift also outweigh the results of one man’s sin: for after one single fall came judgement with a verdict of condemnation, now after many falls comes grace with its verdict of acquittal. If it is certain that death reigned over everyone as the consequence of one man’s fall, it is even more certain that one man, Jesus Christ, will cause everyone to reign in life who receives the free gift that he does not deserve, of being made righteous. Again, as one man’s fall brought condemnation on everyone, so the good act of one man brings everyone life and makes them justified. As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
The Second reading on Sunday, the 1st Sunday of Lent, reminds of sin, the grit in the oyster, and of the pearl that by God’s grace forms around it and overwhelms it.
Lent addresses the continuing reality of sin in our lives – not only the consequences of the sin of Adam, but our own sin too. It does so with great confidence because of the saving love of God.
- For what does God’s love allow you to repent and be set free of?
- How might the mercy of God find fresh expression in how you live ?
Image of crucifix in the Basilica of the Nativity, Bethlehem. showing Jesus’ saving blood dripping from the Cross onto the skull of Adam buried beneath it. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.