Homily Seventh Sunday Year C The first Adam or the Second Adam

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Homily: Seventh Sunday Year C

Reading 1: Background. Though David had served Saul the King faithfully, Saul wanted to kill David so as to prevent him from being king. Saul was in pursuit of David. Saul was not seeking the Lord’s will but his own desires. But will David seek the Lord’s will?

David is put to the test when he had a clear opportunity to end the pursuit and settle the question of who should be king. His aide, Abishai, was guided/motivated by his natural inclinations: kill your enemy when you have the opportunity. David was motivated by a higher, sacred principle: Do no harm to the Lord’s anointed.

Being anointed by the Lord himself, David knew that Saul likewise had been set aside by God. David shared his inner commitment to God by respecting what God respects. Because of this, in time after the death of Saul in battle, David was recognized and anointed as King of Israel.

Are we guided by the principle of the Spirit or the principle of the flesh? Does faith or feeling determine our actions?

Reading 2: Paul contrasts Adam, the first man with Christ, the second man. The first Adam was a living being; Jesus was both human and a life-giving spirit. Adam followed his natural instincts and sinned. Jesus followed spiritual leadings and did the will of the Father.

We are both earthly and spiritual. But what is and what should be the source and foundation of our life and daily decisions? Are they our earthly drives which are flawed because of sin or our spiritual relationship with Christ, which gives us the grace to seek the Father’s will? Will we allow our earthly life to dominate our spiritual life and thus let sin rule us? Or will we choose the grace of God to enable us to direct our earthly life according to God’s plan?

Gospel: These words from Jesus’ teaching are familiar to us.  They constitute the foundation and the challenge of what it means to be a disciple. Jesus makes practical the choice between our earthly nature and our spiritual nature: our relationship with Adam through birth or our relationship with Jesus through rebirth in baptism.

Nature learned perceptions say: hate your enemy; do evil to those who hate you, curse those who curse you, mistreat those who mistreat you. Eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. This is the earthly Adam within us.

But being reborn in baptism, sharing life with and in Jesus challenges us to: love our enemies; do good to those who hate us; pray for those who mistreat us; turn the other cheek; go beyond what is required. What is the foundation of our spiritual principle? Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.

These expectations from Jesus are against the world’s thinking and are counter culture. At the heart of these directives are two primary initiatives: forgiveness and embracing the cross of mistreatment as Jesus did. Pope St. John Paul II gave us such an example when after being shot, went to see his assailant to forgive him. He suffered mistreatment but offered forgiveness. Obviously, Jesus is the perfect witness. From the cross he extended forgiveness to those who put him to death.

Jesus’ words challenge us to be more like God. God loves us beyond our ability to comprehend or imagine. He loves us unconditionally in spite of our faults and failings. We may never be able to love God the same way but we can love God by following his directives to the best of our abilities. We can seek to be more like the second Adam rather than the first Adam.

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