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제목 Sermon of Sexagesima about Children of Adam and Eve(2021.2.7)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2021-02-07



Sermon of Sexagesima about Children of Adam and Eve



Introduction


Last Sunday the Church introduced us in the Septuagesima season which is a preparation to Lent. Through the readings of the Breviary and of the Mass last week, the Church talked to us about the creation of Adam and Eve, the Original Sin and the loss of Paradise, and also how, after the Original Sin, God calls us again to holiness and eternal salvation. We have been given a second chance to go to Heaven, although it is more difficult now than before the Original Sin. Last Sunday St Paul compared our life on earth to an Olympic race: as getting the prize is possible only by making a lot of physical efforts during the competition, so winning the reward of Heaven is possible only by making a lot of spiritual efforts and sacrifices during our life on earth.


In the readings of the Breviary of these current days, the Church makes us read the story of the children of Adam and Eve. Let us see the spiritual lessons which we can get from this passage of the Holy Scriptures, proper to help us to make good resolutions for Lent.


1. The two camps


Adam and Eve, after having been chased away from Paradise, had their first children: Cain and Abel. Cain was a farmer and Abel a shepherd. Both used to offer sacrifices to God: Cain the products of his farm, Abel the sheep of his flock. And it is said in the Bible that “the Lord had respect to Abel and his offerings, but to Cain and his offerings He had no respect” (Gen4;4). Indeed, when we offer a sacrifice to God, He looks first at the intentions of our heart, and if Abel’s intentions were excellent, Cain’s intentions were wicked. Cain became envious to his brother to the extent to kill him. It was the first murder ever committed. Cain had children, and we read in the Holy Scripture that they followed him in his wickedness: murders, polygamy, pride, anger and revenge, looking after earthly things only. The men who lived away from God are called by Holy Scripture “the sons of men” (Gen 6;2).


On this other side it is said in the Holy Scripture that Eve “brought forth a son and called his name Seth, saying: God has given me another seed, for Abel whom Cain slew. But to Seth also was born a son whom he called Enos: this man began to call upon the Name of the Lord” (Gen4;25-26). And we read how the children of Seth strived to live in accordance with God’s laws. One of them, Enoch, was very holy and God took him alive out of this world and is preserving him somewhere for a mission on earth at the end of the world. The men who strive to live according to God’s law are called by Holy Scripture “the Sons of God”.


Which spiritual lesson is can we draw from this passage of the Holy Scripture?

Firstly, the opposition between Cain and Seth is a image of the division of mankind into two groups: the people rejecting God as their Creator and sovereign Master, and the people submitting themselves willingly to God.
This opposition between the sons of God and the sons of men as it was before the Flood is still a reality today: mankind is divided into 2 camps which are radically opposed to each other: the camp of those keeping God’s commandments and the camp of those living away from God, rejecting Him and pretending to live independently from Him. We cannot belong to the 2 camps at the same time. Jesus said: “He that is not with me is against Me” (Mt 12;30). So, since we want to be sons of God, let us not be surprised at seeing against us the sons of men, at seeing the devil and the world trying by all means to make us lose our Catholic Faith and Morals, let us not be surprised at seeing physical or social persecutions against Catholics throughout the world and History.

 Secondly, this opposition between the sons of God and the sons of men is an image of the interior conflict which we carry in ourselves since the Original Sin. Indeed, there are in ourselves like two camps: what St Paul calls “the flesh” which means all our disordered tendencies and passions urging us into sin, and what St Paul calls “the spirit” which means our good will to live according to God’s commandments. You have heard in today’s epistle how even the great St Paul was subject to this interior conflict. The “flesh” and the “spirit” are irreconcilable: one must dominate the other. If the flesh dominate, we will go to hell at the end; if the spirit dominate with God’s help, we will go to Heaven.


This is the first lesson: there is a spiritual war inside and outside us. And we are necessarily involved in both, we like it or not. There is no neutral stand.


2. Our radical inner weakness:


Then it is said in Holy Scripture: “Men began to be multiplied upon the earth, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God seeing the daughters of men, that they were fair, took to themselves wives of all which they chose” (Gen 6;2-3). And the sons of God turned to be corrupted by reason of the close relationship which they contracted with the sons of men through marriage, so much that the Bible says: “And the earth was corrupted before God and was filled with iniquity” (Gen 6;11).


There is a second reality to see here: we have been so weakened by Original Sin that when we associate too much with wicked people, we end up corrupted by them. And similarly, regarding the interior fight between the spirit and the flesh which we carry in ourselves, if our “spirit” stops fighting our “flesh” and tries to cohabite with it peacefully, our “flesh” ends up taking over our “spirit”. This is an important point to remember: by our own, we are weak, incredibly weak: and our daily sins are just a perpetual reminder of this our inner weakness.


Does this mean that we cannot resist temptations and must fall necessarily into sin? No. After mentioning the corruption of the sons of God who associated  themselves with the sons of men, Holy Scripture says that among all the people, one man was found just: “But Noah found grace before the Lord … Noah was a just and perfect man in his generations, he walked with God” (Gen 6;9). “Noah found grace before the Lord”. These words of the Holy Ghost are not to be understood as if God, after looking attentively among all the people on earth, discovered all the sudden, happily, that Noah had kept His Commandments! But it is to be understood that God, while He let the other people follow their wrong desires and fall into bigger and bigger sins, He preserved by His grace Noah from the evil influences surrounding him, from the evil urges of his own concupiscence. And so, although Noah was living in the middle of a very wicked society, “he was a just and perfect man… he walked with God”.


Spiritual victory over the evil influences coming from the devil, wicked people around us and our own concupiscence, is possible, but only by God’s special protection and grace.


3. Prayer and penance


So now, what must we do in order to get God’s protection and grace? Our Lord Jesus said: “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation” (Mt 26;41), and elsewhere He said: “I say to you: unless you shall do penance, you shall all perish” (Lc 13;3). Prayer which is a conversation with God to tell Him that we love Him, thank Him, ask for His forgiveness and help; and penance which is a compensation which we offer to God for our sins, are therefore the two main dispositions God requests from us in order to preserve us from falling into temptations.


Maybe sometimes you ask yourself: will I go to Heaven after death? Will I go to hell? Actually, you can answer yourself to these questions: do you pray every day with Faith and the firm will to please God? Do you pray your Rosary everyday? If you say “No” or “not really”, then the answer to the question is quite clear: you are on your way to hell, you like it or not. St Alphonsus Liguori said: “Who prays will be saved, who does not pray will be damned”. Do you do penance regularly for your sins? Do you offer to God the sacrifice of giving up some food, of fasting, the sacrifice of some charitable actions done for the Church or for the needy, the sacrifice of attending the Mass during the week? do you go to Confession regularly? Do you accept patiently and without complaining the trials of life and offer them to God as a penance for your sins? If you say: “No” to these questions, then the answer to the question ‘Will I go to hell after death?’ is probably “Yes” because in that case you don’t do penance and Our Lord said: “Unless you shall do penance, you shall all perish”.


Some people may say: ‘The world we live in is so corrupted, that it is impossible to resist temptations’: what a bad excuse… The world at the time of Noah was so corrupted that God decided to kill everybody. And yet Noah “was a just and perfect man” living in the middle of this corrupted society.


Some people may say: ‘I feel too much weakness in myself, I cannot resist the wrong desires of my concupiscence’: here again it is a bad excuse… Is God not able to assist you and defend you against the disordered desires of concupiscence as He did for Noah? Noah was a man with Original Sin like you, however by God’s grace he lived in holiness: “He was a just and perfect man”.


Conclusion:


The Church is preparing us for Lent which is a time especially dedicated to prayer and penance. The Church reminds us of the reality of the spiritual fight: fight against the devil, against the world, against our own concupiscence. If we pray and do penance, God will assist us with His grace, and by His grace we will have the final victory, as He mentioned it to St Paul in the Epistle of today: “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2Cor 12;9).


If you find the spiritual fight too hard, look at the Blessed Virgin Mary: for you, for your eternal salvation, She offered her Son Jesus to die on a cross, She followed Him during the Passion, She stood at the foot of the cross for 3 hours. Do you think it was easy for Her? Certainly not, but She did it for the love of God firstly and also for the love of you. In time of discouragement therefore, look at Her, talk to Her, entrust yourself to Her and She will give you the necessary strength to carry on, She will lead you to eternal bliss. Amen.