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Preface VII of the Sundays in Ordinary Time
For more information on the Preface in general, see The Eucharistic Prayer (2) and The Eucharistic Prayer (3)
What is it about the notion of obedience that seems to always cause a twinge of rebellion in us? The scars of Original Sin and our own sins make us feel like every other will trying to be imposed on us is an attack on our freedom. Every sin is a rebellion against a loving Father, from the moment Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (see Genesis 2:16-17, 3:6-11) down to present day.
Salvation through the obedience of Christ
Disobedience represents a parting of the wills. Obedience means a uniting of the wills. When Adam and Eve fell they freely diverged from God’s will. It took the New Adam, Christ, gifted with a human will upon his Incarnation, to begin to reunite humanity’s will in his own with the will of the Heavenly Father again. The most perfect obedience is when you can’t tell where the will of one starts and the other ends. In the Letter to the Hebrews the obedience of Christ is described as perfected: “Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). As God the Son the divine will of God is one; however, since Jesus assumed a human nature and the will that comes with it he had to make an effort to unite his will just like anyone else would. You can struggle to unite your will to God’s without falling into sin, and we saw Our Lord do that at Gethsemane. From that moment forward his will was resolute, not only out of love for his Heavenly Father, but for love of us.
“For you so loved the world that in your mercy you sent us the Redeemer, to live like us in all things but sin, so that you might love in us what you loved in your Son, by whose obedience we have been restored to those gifts of yours that, by sinning, we had lost in disobedience.”
Obedience can be motivated by many things—duty, honor, patriotism—but the greatest motivator for obedience is love. When Our Lord sacrificed himself for our sins and disobedience the Father was not just pleased by his obedience, but by the love behind it. Adam and Eve had let their trust in God die in their hearts, and everyone knows trust is essential in any good relationship.
Through Christ we became adopted sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father, a bond deeper than that of Creator and creature. As an obedient and loving Son Our Lord enabled us to also gaze upon the Father as Father and know that he gazed upon us in the same way if we embrace and acknowledged the Son as our big brother. Let’s unite our wills to the Lord and strive to leave no daylight between God’s will and ours.
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