Gn 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Rom 5:12-19; Mt 4:1-11
1st Sunday in Lent
One of the questions raised by those who have misgivings about the new liturgical translations which will take effect in the United States next Advent concerns the current wording of the Eucharistic prayers that speak of Jesus’ blood shed “for all.” In the new translation, that phrase will read “for the many”.
Literally translated, “for the many” would better reflect the words of the Latin liturgy. What has caused some to worry , however, is that this change in wording might be misconstrued as a change in our understanding of salvation history. Specifically, that Jesus never intended to offer salvation to each and every human being but rather to a predestined group.
This Sunday’s reading from St. Paul is helping to ease such concerns for me.: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one (Jesus), the many will be made righteous.” Clearly Paul’s use of the term is a synonym for “all”, as the doctirne of original sin has always been understood in the Church as universally applying to all human beings.
It seems to me the challenge for the bishops once the new reforms are in place is to remind the faithful understand that there has been no shift in the theology behind the words. Given the polarized times we live in, we must be vigilant in making sure we do not waver as a Church in proclaiming that the Incarnation which includes the life death and resurrection of Jesus was the ultimate self-gift of God to each and every human being- past, present and future. While an individual could choose to leave the family of God it is God’s most earnest wish that this never be so.
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
(To read my full-length reflections on the scriptures, go to www.twentythirdpublications.com. My latest book is entitled , “Make Room for Scripture“.)