Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Second Adam to the Fight, and to the Rescue Came

Mark 7:1-13 was the Gospel passage for today's Mass. I want to zero in on the last lines and share some thoughts and (later) a hymn by the guy pictured above: Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.

The final verses of today's Gospel read, 
"You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things."

Perhaps you've heard before that the only thing we human beings can really claim as our own is our sin.  Everything else is given to us by the grace of God right down to our very lives but oh.. our sins are our own making.  

Our first parents, the first Adam and the first Eve, very quickly broke the chain of the beautiful Tradition (capital T) of God's Word.  God intended for His Word to be passed down  in the fullness of its integrity by passing it on from one generation to the next.  This is even how the Scriptural, written Word of God came into being.  The tradition of God's Word was, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, written down in various forms i.e. histories, poems, epics, proverbs, songs etc.  God wrote in human words after He spoke through human speech.  The written Word of God, Scripture, came out of and is dependent upon god's "spoken" Word through a Sacred Tradition.  We still participate in this transmission of God's "Family Tradition" in the Church which discerns what is or is not grounded in that "Family Tradition."

Now, the first Adam and Eve broke the Tradition of God's Word by introducing a unique element all their own called "sin."  Man's word" began to speak against God's Word.  Not good.

However, God did raise up "a second Adam to the fight and to the rescue came." (From one of my favorite hymns Praise to the Holiest written by Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman) However, this time instead of "Eve" taking flesh from "Adam," the "New Adam" (Jesus, the Son of God) took on flesh from the "New Eve," Mary.  As the first Adam and Eve were intended to be without sin (and were brought into being without sin) so Jesus and Mary were without sin.

God's Word, literally took on flesh, entered "Family Tradition" so to speak.  I say literally and not literarily because God's Word is not limited to "literature" in the written, Scriptural Word. In fact, even Scriture itself attests "The Word became flesh."  God's "Tradition" entered right into the human "tradition" or rather the human condition; sin. The deficiencies of man's "creation" (or rather "uncreation") and tradition was confronted with Divine Truth in the flesh; the Incarnate Word of God. God's Word came in the flesh to introduce an "ever ancient, ever new" Tradition to the scene of our human drama (or rather, "family drama.")

God comes in the New Adam through the New Eve to rescue what sin destroyed; God's creation.  We no longer have to be linked to the broken chain of sin which is the only real thing humanity can claim as it's singular "creation," its own, very special "tradition."


So what's your favorite "human tradition?" No, no I don't mean traditions like dinner with the family every Sunday or putting up the Christmas tree every year on a particular day.  I mean, what's your favorite sin which you won't let God purify you of? (and this is hypothetical, I don't want any comments with lists of sins you've recently committed! :) )
How do you tend to "nullify the Word of God" with your own words, your own sinful "human traditions"?  (remember, not all human traditions are sinful!)

Don't get me wrong and don't get Jesus wrong either! "human tradition" here means the kind which nullify the Word of God (celebrating Christmas, for example, is a great human tradition which must please God tremendously when we do so out of love for Him.)  What sins and sinful tendencies do you need God's Incarnate Word - Jesus - to confront?  What parts of your life need to be disconnected from the human tradition of sin so that they can be linked back up with God's love and truth?

  Our favorite sins....
Unfortunately, we "do many such things."  
Thankfully, God's mercy has the final Word.
That Word's name is Jesus.

God's Word took on flesh
Born of the Virgin Mary.
That enfleshed Word,
the real presence of Christ,
remains with us in the Eucharist
and He lovingly waits for you, for
your real presence.