By Deacon Jerry Franzen June 25, 2017 Cathedral
Jeremiah 20: 10-13 Romans 5: 12-15 Matthew 10: 26-33
Praised Be Jesus Christ
Good Afternoon, Morning
In post-Super Bowl conversations at the water cooler
it is often the commercials that are the topic of discussion
rather than the elements of the football game.
In 2011, there was a Super Bowl commercial
that began with a scene of a beautiful garden.
The picture then cut to a beautiful woman behind some bushes
that covered her from the waist down.
She was obviously naked with her long tresses
strategically covering her.
Then there was a close up of a snake
with its tongue flipping from its mouth.
Back to the woman who looks up and sees an apple within reach
on a tree overhead and the “Dies Irae”
from Verdi’s Requiem plays in the background.
“Dies Irae” is Latin for “Day of Wrath.”
She takes a big bite of the apple and a man
behind the same bushes and naked from the waist up
next to her notices what she did.
The woman then reaches out with the apple to offer it to him.
He says, “Naw, I’m good.” and pulls a bag of Doritos up
from behind the bushes and eats one.
The final scene shows the man with the quizzical look on his face.
That makes me wonder what would have happened,
if Adam had not joined Eve in eating the apple.
St. Paul in the letter to the Romans said that
“through one man sin entered the world”
not one man and/or one woman.
He said that “death reigned from Adam to Moses”
not from Adam and/or Eve to Moses.
He referred to the “trespass of Adam,”
not the trespass of Adam and/or Eve.
So it seems that the choice made by Adam was the problem.
In the second creation story,
it was Adam that was the beginning of humanity.
Remember Eve came from his rib.
It looks like Adam was responsible for the original sin.
Let’s not try to reason what would have happened
if Adam had not followed Eve.
The fact is he did.
We have heard the story;
he and Eve both committed the original sin.
As a result of that, we enter this world
with the effects of that original sin.
In first chapter of Genesis we have the creation story.
On the sixth day, God said in verses 26 and 27,
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
God created man in his image;
In the divine image he created him:
male and female he created them.”
Go to the third Chapter of Genesis, and the devil is telling Eve
that God does not want her and Adam to eat from the tree
in the middle of the garden,
because if they do, they will be like gods
who know what is good and what is bad. Verse 5
Both Eve and Adam bought that argument.
They were not satisfied with being made in the image of God;
they wanted to be gods.
They wanted to make the rules.
As a result of this original sin,
we come into the world with a tendency towards evil.
we want to be gods, to make the rules
about what is good for us and what is bad for us.
That is the essence of original sin.
We are all sinners, we all have defied
what God has said about what is good and bad for us.
The essence of sin is our playing god,
doing what we decide is right and wrong for us.
God had every right to just leave us in that state,
the state that St. Paul refers to as “death.”
Here the word “death” represents separation from God.
But God gave us the Ten Commandments and the prophets
as guides for the path back to him, back to life.
But that was judged by God to not be enough.
St. Paul continued:
“For, if by the transgression of one, (apparently Adam)
the many died, (that’s us)
how much more did the grace of God
and the gracious gift of one man, Jesus Christ,
overflow for the many.”
Jesus is the new Adam, the beginning of the redeemed human race.
Jeremiah was describing his enemies when he said,
“The Lord is with me, like a mighty champion;
My persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph”
And again, “O Lord of hosts, you test the just,
who probe the mind and heart,
let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause.”
We can apply the words St. Paul and Jeremiah together to us,
it comes out something like this:
“For, if by my transgression, I separate myself from God
how much more does the grace of God
and the gracious gift of Jesus Christ overflow for me.
The Lord is with me, a mighty champion;
the devil will stumble, he will not triumph.
Lord of hosts, you test me and probe my mind and my heart;
let me witness the vengeance you take on the devil
for he is forever separated from you, my God,
and I have entrusted to you my cause.”
So how do we tap into this redemption?
First and foremost by our Baptism.
At Jesus’ Baptism he was proclaimed by the Father to be his Son,
“This is my Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.”
It is by our Baptism that we too become adopted sons and daughters
of God to share in the ministry of Christ.
That is what it means to be a Christian.
We were anointed at our Baptism to indicate our importance
in God eyes.
In the Old Testament,
important persons, priests, prophets and kings were anointed.
We, the baptized, share in the threefold ministry of Christ
as Priest, Prophet and King.
We were anointed at Baptism to also be strengthened for those roles.
We are to help others to become more holy
as priests are to help others to become more holy.
We are to help others to hear God’s words
as prophets brought the word of God to the people.
We are to share the kingly ministry by serving others
as Christ serves us.
AND at our baptism when the minister poured the water
and said the words,
“ I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit” we received the graces, the power from God,
to overcome the effects of original sin and
to share in the threefold ministry of Christ.
The best way that we can help others to become holy
is being good examples of holiness for those around us.
If you follow God’s commandments and the laws of the Church,
there is good chance that your children will grow in holiness.
Holiness is measured in following God’s will.
We all can share our faith with others by example.
Sharing how the scriptures have been important to us
will certainly help others to connect with the word of God.
Invite someone else along with you when you go out to help others.
Or if no one invites you, seek opportunities to help.
These are the ways that we can cooperate
with the sacramental grace
that we have received at our baptism.
Just think about it!
If God had not sent he Law, the prophets
AND, most importantly, his Son for our salvation,
we would be living in a cesspool of sin with no way out,
condemned to a possible eternity of separation from God.
Jesus suffered, died and rose for us about 2000 years ago,
but God has also provided a way that His Son
is present to each of us at Mass.
May we do as Jeremiah urges us:
“Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord
for he has rescued us, the poor,
from the power of the wicked.”