Archive for December 19th, 2012

The Temptation of Eve by Lucas Cranach

Prayer of the Day

Lord God, heavenly Father, You created Adam in Your image and gave him Eve as his helpmate, and after their fall into sin, You promised them a Savior who would crush the devil’s might. By Your mercy, number us among those who have come out of the great tribulation with the seal of the living God on our foreheads and whose robes have been made white in the blood of the Lamb; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Adam and Eve

Adam was the first man, made in the image of God and given dominion over all the earth (Genesis 1:26). Eve was the first woman, formed from one of Adam’s ribs to be his companion and helper (Genesis 2:18-24). God placed them in the Garden of Eden to take care of creation as His representatives. But they forsook God’s Word and plunged the world into sin (Genesis 3:1-7). For this disobedience, God drove them from the garden. Eve would suffer pain in childbirth and would chafe at her subjection to Adam; Adam would toil amid thorns and thistles and return to the dust of the ground. Yet God promised that the woman’s Seed would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:8-24). Sin had entered God’s perfect creation and changedit until God would restore it again through Christ. Eve is the mother of the human race, while Adam is representative of all humanity and the fall, as the apostle Paul writes, “For in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Reflection:  The woodcut above is interesting for this detail:  please note the one woman has a serpent’s tail which Cranach is telling us the devil has become a woman, but not just any woman.  It has become  Eve.  Eve is being tempted by Eve, her own image.  The image of man and woman, created in the image of God is powerful but it was to reflect the Lord’s love and dominion but not him or her self as a self-existing all attractive being.  Romans 1:

1For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Then immediately Paul teaches about homosexual passions:  loving the same and not the other, literally, the “hetero”.  It is easy to love the same.  The Lord loves us, even when Eve bought the damn lie. We live in a society in thralldom to the self, from “Self” magazine to a talk show host who’s magazine only features her every time to the worshiping the stars.  There are only two types of people: self-seekers or Kingdom seekers or  seekers of the Savior.  As the Christmas states it well:  Christ was born for this.  Born into a world in which everyone is looking out for #1 in sheer adulation, He came a mewling baby in a feeding trough, the Son of God.  He came to be last and least of all. The Coming One who sought purely the reign of God for you. Colossians 1:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

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The Jesse Tree

O Radix Jesse:

“O Root of Jesse, standing as an ensign before the peoples, before whom all kings are mute, to whom the nations will do homage: Come quickly to deliver us.”

Oh, come, Thou Branch of Jesse’s tree,
Free them from Satan’s tyranny,
That trust your mighty pow’r to save;
Bring them in vict’ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Isaiah had prophesied, “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (11:1), and A On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.” (11:10). Remember also that Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).

Reflection:  Our word “radical” is from the Latin “radix”, “root”, as in the Root of Jesse.  C. S. Lewis pointed out that forgiving sin is like a long addition equation and when the sum is wrong, you have to go back to where it went wrong. This is what Christ Mass is about:  the Lord going back to where it went wrong.  He became flesh, in the appearance  of the Old Adam, to fix the humanly unfixable problem, sin,  in the tender mercies of our God.  We have knowledge of salvation in the forgiveness of our sins (Luke 1: 77)The Incarnation was radical and  still is and so He is Emmanuel.  First, He is God against us, His alien work of judgment of sinners.  Then He is God for us and our salvation and by faith Emmanuel, God with us.

This O Antiphon reminds us also of the Lord’s genealogy and it’s importance in the Gospels:  St. Matthew 1: 1-7 and St. Luke 3: 23-28.  Here is an excellent article on St. Matthew’s Genealogy at Brothers of John the Steadfast.

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