In the first book of the bible, Genesis, God placed a limitation on Adam and Eve. It was not to eat from only one tree, the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil. Yes, it was not an apple tree but whatever it was, God did not want us to distinguish good from evil. He simply wanted us to trust and obey Him so that we could live in goodness and not know evil at all. Eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil incorporated evil into Adam and Eve’s lives. They spoiled the vision of goodness that God intended them to have. All of a sudden, they developed a new sensation of a shame in being naked. This was something that they never experienced before. They were now dominated by instinct. Their conscience was deformed by unsatisfied wishes. Their conjugal act, which gave them the opportunity to imitate the love in community of the Trinity and creation in a human way in marriage, was fractured. An animosity between male and female occurred and they became mortal. We inherited original sin and continue to suffer from its effects. We also compound these effects with our own personal sins. It is interesting to note that Adam and Eve consumed a fruit in disobedience causing their death while Jesus gives us a food that gives us life.
The 51st Psalm is thought to be King David’s response of reconciliation after that terrible series of sins he committed starting with adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, Uriah, to cover up his exposure to these crimes. It is an extraordinary response to God and it shows a dynamic of contrition for sin. David seemed to know that only God can take an evil and turn it into a good. This psalm gives us a direction out of our sins with the help of God’s mercy. If we have committed a big sin, this is the psalm to pray to get relief by entrusting ourselves to God’s mercy.
Paul notes that Adam’s sin has been undone by one man, Jesus Christ. Adam brought death to all of us, but Jesus’ one act of dying on the Cross gives us the potential of saving ourselves if we choose repentance.
The great power in the Gospel is not so much that Jesus did not give into the temptations of the devil, but rather this is the first time, outside of the special privilege given the Blessed Mother, that a human being was not duped by the devil to sin.
These temptations are very delectable for corrupt politicians. They have all the elements of money and power. Being able to provide bread from stones would have a lot of weight in a country like the
Sudan or even Syria. Having the protection of angels from being harmed by an assassin’s bullet would provide opportunities to do a lot of evil free of worry of being caught. And what politician would not want to have all the kingdoms of the world? That is even better than being just the president of the United States!
I hope that this Lent will be for you a time of reflection and a time to be freed from any enslavement from sin. I also pray that more of you will learn to pray in silence before the Blessed Sacrament in our Adoration Chapel.