March 9, 2014
A story has it that King Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once captured a prince and his family. When they were brought before him, Cyrus asked the captured prince, “What will you give me if I release you?”
“The half of my wealth,” was his reply.
“And if I release your children?”
“Everything I possess.”
“And if I release your wife?”
“Your Majesty, I will give myself.”
Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man!” With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you—the one who was willing to give himself for me.”
Lent is the time for us to remember Jesus, the one who was willing to give his life for us and the manner in which he did, in fact, give his life for us.
This Sunday’s second reading from the Letter to the Romans, Paul talks about the two men who, more than anyone else, influenced the history of our salvation. The first is Adam, through whom sin and death came into the world and humankind fell from God’s favour. The other is Jesus, through whom humankind is once more reconciled to God and grace and eternal life restored to us.
There is a big difference between our sharing in Adam’s loss and our sharing in Christ’s merits. Since Adam is the father of all humankind, it can be said that all humankind was literally in Adam’s loins. Adam’s DNA is stamped in the DNA of all humanity. Original sin, therefore, is our genetic inheritance from Adam. But we cannot make the same argument for Jesus Christ. The DNA of Jesus has not been passed down to all humanity. Our belonging to Adam is by nature. We have no choice in the matter. But our belonging to Christ is by choice. That is why all humankind inherits Adam’s fallen human nature, whether we like it or not. But it is only those who choose to belong to Christ that will inherit the blessings that Christ has won for humanity.
Lent is the opportune time of the year when the Church reminds us of what Christ has done for us and invites us all to make a conscious decision to belong to Christ.
This week our RCIA candidates are going to St. Mary’s Cathedral, Calgary, and publicly make their choice to follow Christ in the Rite of Election. Please pray for them.