Monday, June 29, 2015
God did not make death...but He conquers it: 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time
(Listen to this homily here).
“God did not make death nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living…”
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live forever? I’m guessing most of us have fantasized about immortality. But did you know that we believe that, had Adam and Eve not sinned, they would have been immortal? Both the Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church teach that we were created for immortality! “For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him.”
It’s cool to think about what else Adam and Eve were like before the fall. These are called the preternatural gifts (preter = before). For instance, prior to sin we know they were in right relationship with God, their own person, each other and nature. Sin caused disintegration in each. Perhaps this is most obvious to see with God. The first sin caused an eternal break between God and man. Other consequences may not be as obvious.
For instance, we constantly experience disharmony in our bodies. Even though our will wants to listen to a homily or teacher in school, our body falls asleep. Rather than exercise—which would be good for us—we watch TV. We eat chips but not oranges. Our body does not always do what our minds want it to. This was not the case before sin. Mainstream Catholic theologians think that Adam and Eve had seamless integration of their bodies and souls.
Sin features the breakdown of marriage and families. See any newspaper or news broadcast to see this!
Many theologians speculate that a unique connection to nature was also part of Adam and Eve’s experience prior to sin. You know how animals—horses, dogs, birds—can tell a storm is coming without seeing a weather report? It is thought that we, too, had such a sense because God made us in harmony with all of creation.
Finally, it is largely assumed that before sin, Adam and Eve would not have suffered. They probably didn’t experience pain.
Suffice it to say, Adam and Eve messed up big time! “But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.”
God did not make death. But He conquers death. That is the heart of our Christian faith!
Today we heard of Jesus’ authority over death. A twelve-year old girl (sixth or seventh grade age today) died. Imagine witnessing the grief and heartbreak of her family. Now picture Jesus telling this dead child, “Talitha koum…Little girl, I say to you, arise!” and seeing her get up! Everyone in that room knew that Jesus was God—after all, who but God could raise someone from the dead?
But Jesus didn’t just conquer the death of one little girl. He conquered death itself. God sent His son to die for our sins. God, who was rich, became poor for us. Look at the cross. Look at the empty tomb.
God did not make death. But through His son, Jesus Christ, He conquers it.