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God's choice and our choice

Thứ tư - 08/03/2017 08:55
By the free choice and gift of God, our being made right with God (righteousness) is established.
By the free choice and gift of God, our being made right with God (righteousness) is established.
Deacon John Ruscheinsky
In its wisdom the Church bids us take a trek into the desert this first Sunday of the Lenten season. Figuratively speaking, deserts are barren, frightening places. They are void of the usual props that distract mind, body and soul. The person left alone in a desert must confront himself or herself. It is a time and place of testing, of proving what makes us who we are.
Today's reading from the Book of Genesis reminds us of the beauty and dignity of our creation. In the eyes of God we are good, originally and fundamentally. God does not create junk. Every Adam and every Eve is called to flourish in his or her dignity as a son or daughter of God, created in his image and likeness. We are given dominion over the whole of creation, yet we are creatures and not God. To pretend otherwise is to violate our relationship with the One who has made us. Do we not know how that part of the Genesis story plays out in our own personal lives? We chose to deny our creaturehood and act as if we are equal to God. In so doing, we alienate ourselves from the Source of our life. We sin. Such alienation is not God's will for us. Sin involves our conscious and free choice. It does not happen automatically; nor is it just the result of poor parenting. Genesis captures well the plight we are in: Paradise lost. Joining today's psalm response, we plead from the depth of our being: "Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned."
Carrying all of humanity in his heart, Jesus enters the desert, replicating there the battle with alienation from God which every human being knows. Matthew wants us to see in Jesus the New Israel and the New Adam. Where the Hebrews of old failed their testing during their forty years of desert wandering, Jesus succeeds. Where Adam has lost the glory of Paradise, Jesus begins a journey which will lead to its restoration. In him the wages of sin (death) will be paid as all humankind becomes redeemed in the spilling of his blood. Jesus' temptations in the desert are the same as those confronted by every Adam/Eve. He accepts his humanity and its limitations. "Man does not live on bread alone." He takes conscious responsibility for his life. He will not put the Lord his God to the test, expecting God to manipulate. And Jesus will not compromise - not even a little - putting anything or anyone in the place of God. Jesus is not a mythological superman who wins a struggle against the mighty onslaughts of evil. He is the Son of the living God, one like us in all things but sin; his life, death and resurrection open up for us all a path to full and eternal life. Jesus does more than set a good example; he is the Way to life in God.
St. Paul writes to the Christian community at Rome about the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The message is focused and forthright. Just as God's judgment on sin came about as the result of one man's sin (Adam's), so too has our salvation or righteousness been established by the One whom God has sent (Jesus). As Paul points out, by its own free choice, mankind has merited condemnation; but by the free choice and gift of God, our being made right with God (righteousness) is established. We cannot save ourselves, try as we might. In a phrase which will echo throughout the centuries of Christendom, we are saved by grace! God's loving mercy is a stupendous gift!
Points to Ponder and Pray: What spiritual battle will engage me this Lent? What shape does sin take in my life; where are my fundamental temptations? What free choices have I made which alienate me from God and darken my dignity as a child of God? How willing am I to admit that I am a sinner?
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Từ khóa: Mt 4:1-11, mc1a, cam-do, thu-thach, cuu-do,

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