If JESUS is the answer, what was the question?
We hear again and again the refrain for the Advent season, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Advent is a special time of preparing us to be ready to greet Him when He comes again. To grow in our relationship with Christ, our King, it is important to know why we so desperately needed Him to come in the first place!
TRUTH. Let’s take a look back at where it all began… the Garden of Eden.
TRADITION. Adam and Eve desired to be wise, as God was wise, but what they failed to realize was that they were already like God—made in His image. Failing this test of obedience, our first parents put their will above God’s will. It will require two acts of obedience to reverse this failure: the Blessed Virgin’s let it be done to me and Christ’s ultimate surrender, not my will but yours. Mary, the New Eve, says YES to the will of the Father, and Jesus, the New Adam, says YES to the will of the Father (CCC 411). Adam and Eve’s disobedience placed man into a state of original sin that is the very antithesis of the Good News promised in the Incarnation. Losing all of the benefits of original holiness, man began to have a distorted image of God. Man also lost his self-mastery, tensions began to grow between him and the woman, creation became hostile to the man, and most poignantly, death entered the world (CCC 399). However, God in his infinite mercy and wisdom gives the Good News to Adam and Eve in Gen 3:15, when He tells the serpent:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
Here, God promises a Savior which would come into the world to destroy the evil one. This verse is called the Protoevangelium, meaning the first Good News (CCC 410). God foretells a war that will be waged between His Son and the Devil. The seed of the woman is Jesus, the Son of Mary. The seed of the serpent is the devil, all of his fallen angels, and the men under his sway.
How do we know that this is true? Think about it. Who could the woman be? This verse is talking about putting enmity between the serpent and the woman (enmity means hostility or hatred); therefore, it cannot be talking about Eve, who was just conversing in a rather friendly manner with the serpent in just verses before. What pregnant woman in Scripture has a child that could destroy Satan? The answer is obvious: the Blessed Mother! It is also very curious that this verse refers to the seed of the woman. Scripture scholars point out that it was customary to use the expression “seed of the man” not of woman. This anomaly points us to the virginal conception of the Christ in the Blessed Mother.
What does this verse have to do with the redemption of Man? Though the woman’s seed will appear to die, he will vanquish the serpent. This image foreshadows the Passion of Christ. Though Jesus will die on Calvary, we know that He will rise three days later, thus Satan seems to bruise Christ’s heel, while Christ through his suffering, deals the deathblow to Satan, bruising his head. Therefore, what Man lost in the Garden, will be regained and surpassed by the Incarnation. Jesus, the New Adam ushers in an opportunity for all of man to partake in the divine life. The prophecy of the Messiah does not end here, as it is echoed throughout the Old Testament… more on this next week!
For more information on the Protoevangelium and the New Adam and New Eve see CCC 374-412.
TRANSFORMATION. We see in Genesis 3, why the world needed a Savior, but what does this mean in my life? Where is my need for a Savior? Attachment to sin? Material goods? Useless anxiety? What am I doing this Advent to prepare my heart for the coming of the Lord?
SOURCE + SUMMIT. God says that if man eats from the Tree of Life he will live forever (Gen 3:22-24). For your own reflection read John 6, focusing on John 6:58. How does the Bread of Life discourse relate to the Tree of Life? What place does the Eucharist have in my life?