Theme: JESUS CHRIST THE NEW AND SECOND ADAM
- Genesis 2:7-9. 3:1-7;
- Psalm 50:3-6. 12-14. 17. R/ cf. v.3;
- Romans 5:12. 14d-19
- Matthew 4:1-11
Today is the First Sunday of Lent, Liturgical Year A. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter, that is, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and our dying and rising with him in the sacrament of baptism! Lent is therefore a time when our catechumens prepare for baptism and we who are baptized prepare to renew our Baptism on Easter Vigil Night, so that we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! Lent is therefore a time of repentance!
The first reading tells us that Adam and Eve sinned against God by eating the forbidden fruit. By eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve committed the Original Sin of Pride. Adam and Eve wanted to be gods and to decide for themselves what is good and what is evil. As a result sin and death entered the world. As a result they lost their innocence and were ashamed that they were naked.
More importantly, the gospel today tells us that Jesus Christ the new and second Adam turned back to God! The gospel today tells us that the devil did not only tempt Adam and Eve, but the devil also tempted Jesus Christ! The devil tempted Jesus Christ with three temptations.
In the first temptation the devil tells Jesus to turn stones into bread; in the second temptation the devil tells Jesus to jump from the highest point of the Temple to test God; and in the third temptation, the devil tells Jesus to worship him and he will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world!
More importantly, are the three responses of Jesus. To the first temptation Jesus responded:
“Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4; SM)
To the second temptation Jesus responded:
“You must not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Mt 4:7; SM)
To the third temptation Jesus responded:
“You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.” (Mt 4:10; SM)
Most importantly, the second reading tells us that sin and death entered the world through one man, Adam; and more importantly, the second reading tells us that grace and life entered the world through one man, Jesus Christ!
Most importantly, the second reading tells us that the grace and life of Jesus Christ far outweighed the sin and death of Adam, so much so that the new life of Easter and Baptism is even better than the life before sin and death! Thus we sing in the Easter Proclamation:
“O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!” (SM)
And thus the caption of the second reading:
“However great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater.” (Rm 5:20; SM)
The responsorial psalm is a “Prayer of Repentance”. (CSB) Thus we responded four times:
“Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.” (Ps 50:3; SM)
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas ask God to forgive our sins. Thus we read:
“Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness. In your compassion blot out my offence. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.
My offences truly I know them; my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned; what is evil in your sight I have done.” (vv. 3-6; SM)
The third and fourth stanzas ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we will not sin anymore. Thus we read:
“A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit.
Give me again the joy of your help; with a spirit of fervor sustain me.” (vv. 12-14; SM)
During this time of Lent the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor, not as a punishment for our sins; but to help us to repent and to prepare for the celebration of Easter, so that we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! A Blessed Lent to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.