Homilette for Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

(Romans 5:12.15b.17-19.20b-21; Luke 12:35-38)

Paul nowhere mentions the words original sin, but in the passage from Romans that we hear today he examines it. To understand what he is saying, we need to review the story of creation.

Genesis distinguishes human creation as the only handiwork God makes in His own image. This means that we, like God, have the capacity to love. That is, we can know others as well as ourselves and give ourselves to them in relationships of trust. Genesis goes on to tell how the first humans -- Adam and Eve -- act on the tempter’s half truths to reject God’s authority. The result of their disobedience, which we name original sin, is a triple alienation. The pair become at odds with each other, with material creation, and with God. The alienation is epitomized in the bitter reality of death for them and their descendants.

Paul then completes the story. As grave as the first humans’ sin is, Christ’s grace more than makes up for it. He has overcome the triple alienation by his singular act of obedience to God, his Father. Humans can now re-enter relationships of love. No more must we die if we unite ourselves with Christ in faith.