Speak Lord: Healing Saviour

Adam Cracowa.jpg

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.

Romans 5:12-15

The Second reading at Mass on Sunday, the 12th Sunday of the Year, points to a deeper wound to human living than law-breaking, even when that law is Torah, God’s law given through Moses.

The failure of Adam is a failure to live right with God, lovingly. Love goes beyond law, because of its commitment to the person of the other. For Adam the other was God, the Creator, and he failed in his relationship through disobedience and through a self-isolating fear and shame. The result proved to be a lasting alienation.

God never gave up – even dressed Adam for the exile. Underlying the whole of the Old Testament is the tension: might this next person, this next episode be the one where we return to that relationship, even as formalised (cramped?) by the Law. But the answer is always, ‘No’, and Israel waits.

Then begins the New Testament, and Jesus, God’s sustained ‘Yes’ to us and, in his humanity, our sustained response to God.

In him we find life.
Adam. Cracow, Poland. (C) 2014, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Saviour

DSC02798 blood of Christ.jpg

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.

Romans 5:12-19

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.