Sermons

Monday March 2nd

Introduction: Mary the New Eve

“Death through Eve, life through Mary” (CCC, paragraph 494)

Opening prayer: Personal prayer

I. Introduction:

We are blessed to be here tonight and begin another Lenten series this time entitled “Mary the Mother of the Messiah”.  Through this six part series I will unpack aspects of blessed Mother Mary that are meant to inform and enrich our Catholic Faith.  All are welcome to join for part or all of our series.  I come as a layman sharing knowledge and insight I have learned from others.  This series is based on a book written by Catholic theologian Dr. Brant Pitre, entitled Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary.  By all means acquire a copy for yourselves and enjoy this great work!     

Having been raised Protestant, Mary never played a significant role in my faith.  She simply remained in the pages of history as any of the Biblical characters of old, she was an ordinary human being who ended up living an ordinary life.  I thought Catholics foolishly worshipped Mary and all the saints.   It was no surprise, therefore, that when I found myself coming into the Catholic church in 2018 the Marian doctrines gave me the most difficulty to understand and accept.  How could she have been free from sin?  Remained a virgin?  Assumed into heaven?  Gradually, and through God’s guidance, I began to understand these truths; that there are in fact reasonable grounds for believing these dogmas and they weren’t simply invented by the Catholic Church as many outside the Church claim.

  1. A. Typology

  2. This series is based on a reading of Scripture which the Church has employed since its earliest days, namely Types.  When we read the Scriptures, especially those of the Old Testament, we see a relationship with the New Testament, namely its fulfillment.  Thus, the Old Testament is replete with people, places, and events that point to greater things yet to come.

  3. As Dr. Pitre pointed out “The key to understanding what the Bible teaches about Mary can be found in what is called “typology”: the study of Old Testament prefigurations (or “types”) and their New Testament fulfillments (p. 10 Pitre).

  4. Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI): “The image of Mary in the New Testament is woven entirely of Old Testament threads.”

  5. Protestant theologian Timothy George: “Evangelicals have much to learn from reading Mary against the background of Old Testament foreshadowings…The image of Mary in the New Testament is inseparable from its Old Testament antecedents, without which we are left with not only a reductionist view of Mary, but also of Christ.”

  6. Furthermore, scholars now agree that to fully understand Jesus Christ he must be placed within his first-century Jewish context.  If we are to fully understand Mary, then the same principle applies.  Jewish writings that can illuminate beliefs about Mary, include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the works of Josephus and Philo, the Jewish Pseudepigrapha, the ancient Aramaic Targums, and the early literature of the rabbis.

  7. It is important to note both at the onset and throughout this series that for the ancient Christians beliefs about Mary flowed directly out of what early Christians believed about Jesus.

  8. Quote from the (CCC, 487)

  9. What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.

  10. Now, with the Biblical canon being closed, Christians, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, have discerned how this foreshadowing took place.  Thus tonight’s class will be on the Typology of Mary as the New Eve!  Tonight we will consider how Mary is the New Eve (and also an antitype of Eve, in so far as Eve is the cause of corruption, and Mary the cause of salvation.  As a type (or antitype) of Eve, Mary was conceived without sin, her actions have a universal and sanctifying effect upon God’s children.  She becomes the mother of those who are truly alive!  Those who are in Christ!

  11. NOTE:  On December 8th 1854, Pope Pius the IX, urged by the majority of Catholic bishops throughout the world, solemnly declared, in the papal constitution, Ineffabilis Deus (Ineffable God), the Immaculate Conception of Mary which is to be firmly believed by all Catholics.

  12. Quote:

  13. “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”

  14. Prior to the papl bull, at the council of Trent in 1546, it was declared: “No justified person can for his whole life avoid all sins, even venial sins, except on the ground of a special privilege from God such as the Church holds was given to the Blessed Virgin.”

  15. What led to this authoritative declaration from Pope Pius IX?

  16. II. Jesus the New Adam, (Mary, the New Eve)

  17. In order to establish Mary as the New Eve, we begin with Jesus.  The New Testament explicitly calls Jesus the New Adam.  Listen to what St. Paul wrote in Romans 5:18-19

  18. As one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

  19. 1 Corinthians 15: 45,47:

  20. Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit…The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.

  21. As Dr. Pitre points out, “…the “Good news” is not just about saving sinners from the fires of hell.  It is about undoing the effects of the Fall of Adam and Eve.  It is about restoring the original ‘righteousness’ which Adam had when he was created but which he lost through disobedience (p. 15)

  22. Thus, we can logically ask if Jesus is the new Adam, then who is the new Eve?  Answer Mary.

  23. Point 1:

  24. Adam did not bring sin and death into the world alone, it came both through Adam and Eve.

  25. Point 2:

  26. Adam and Eve were created immortal and sinless by God and yet they were still fully human.  (See Genesis 1: 27-28; 31)

  27. Point 3:

  28. The Battle between the “Serpent” and the “Woman”

  29. Eve is referred to as the “woman” eleven times in the book of Genesis.  It is after the “Fall” that Adam named her Eve (which in the Hebrew means “mother of the living”).

  30. Genesis 3:14-15

  31. The LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall strike your head, and you shall strike his heel.

  32. Ancient Jews (and as a result Christians) interpreted this passage to refer to a spiritual battle that would take place between humanity and the Devil.

  33. The four parties involved are as follows:

  34. 1)The Serpent vs. 2) The Woman (Garden of Eden)

  35. 3) The Serpent’s offspring vs. 4)  Woman’s offspring

  36. Eve in Ancient Jewish Tradition:

  37. First, later Jewish writings make it clear that the Serpent mentioned in Genesis is none other than the Devil.

  38. The Jewish book of Wisdom which is part of the Catholic Old Testament states that it was through the devil’s envy that death entered the world (Wisdom 2:24).  Likewise another first century Jewish interpretation says “the Devil” spoke to Eve “through the mouth of the Serpent” (p. 22).

  39. Interestingly enough, Jewish texts also attest to the enduring effects of Adam and Eve’s disobedience.

  40. Sirach 25:24

  41. From a woman sin had its beginning, and because of her we all die.

  42. Pseudo-Philo, Biblical Antiquities 13:8

  43. That man transgressed my ways and was persuaded by his wife; and she was deceived by the serpent.  And then death was ordained for the generations of men.

  44. 4 Ezra 7:118

  45. O Adam, what have you done?  For though it was you who sinned, the fall was not yours alone, but our also who are your descendants.

  46. Note:  We can glean from such passages that Jewish thought had already laid the foundations of the doctrine we would later term “original sin.”

  47. More importantly the oracle of Genesis 3 was interpreted by Jews to be a prophecy of the Messiah.

  48. 1 Enoch 62:5-7

  49. Pain shall seize them when they see that the Son of Man sitting on throne of his glory…For the offspring of the mother of the living was concealed from the beginning. 

  50. Remarkably in the first-century the offspring of the woman was already identified as the Jewish Messiah.  It is no surprise that Christians would later call this passage the Protoevangelium (which may be roughly translated as the “First Gospel”).

  51. Thus, just as through Eve’s disobedience came sin and death, through her offspring redemption would come through the Son of Man, the Christ.

  52. III. Mary the New Eve: “Woman”

  53. St. Ephrem wrote: “Mary and Eve, two people without guilt, two simple people, were identical.  Later, however, one became the cause of our death, the other the cause of our life” (Op.syr. II 327).

  54.   

  1. I. The Wedding at Cana and the “Woman” of Genesis

  2. As noted by Dr. Pitre, in the Gospel of John, Mary appears twice: once during the wedding at Cana (Read John 2:1-12) and once during the crucifixion of Jesus (Read John 19:25-27) in both episodes Mary is referred to by the title “Woman.”  It seems our Lord was intentionally calling his mother “woman” in light of the prophecy from Genesis 3.  He was not being impolite or rude when addressing her in this manner. On the contrary, he seems to be addressing her with an exalted title implying her part in the redemption of the world.  Raymond Brown comments “John thinks of Mary against the background of Genesis 3…Mary is the New Eve” (p. 28).

  3. Through Mary’s intercession, the Lord does his first miracle.

  4. Interestingly enough, John opens up his Gospel in parallel fashion to the book of Genesis:

  5. Genesis 1:1

  6. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…

  7. John 1:1

  8. In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God.

  9. John 19:25-27

  10. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  WHen Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!  Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!”  And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”

  11. It is therefore, no accident that the title used for Mary would echo the “Woman” from Genesis.

  12. II. The Book of Revelation: The “Woman,” the Serpent, and the Messiah.

  13. Read Revelation 12:1-9, 13:

  14. Is this passage referring to a specific woman or a group of people?  The answer could very well be both.  However, given that the Devil, and the male child are clearly individuals, it makes logical sense that the woman would also be an individual (and in this case blessed Mary).

  15. The three individuals in Revelation 19 (p. 32)

    1. 1. The Serpent = The Devil Individual (Satan)

    2. 2. The Child = The Messiah Individual (Christ)

    3. 3. The Woman = Mother of the Messiah Individual (Mary)

    4. Because the characters in the Revelation 12 are connected to actual individuals it does not exclude the interpretation that The Serpent, The Child, and the Woman are also representative of collective entities.

    5. CCC 411

    6. The Christian tradition sees in [Genesis 3:15] an announcement of the the “New Adam” who, because he ‘became obedient unto death, even death on a cross,’ makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience of Adam.  Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium as Mary, the mother of Christ, the ‘new Eve.’  Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ’s victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.

    7. The Immaculate Conception:

    8. The immaculate conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without original sin or its stain (that’s what immaculate means: without stain).  The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature.  Mary was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the instant of her existence she was in a state of sanctifying grace and was free from the nature original sin brings. (Catholic Answers, tract Immaculate Conception and Assumption).

    9. Quotes from ancient Christians:

    10. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.22.4 [2nd century A.D.]

    11. The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary.  For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.

    12. Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns on the Nativity 15.23 [ 4th century A.D.]

    13. Death came through a virgin, Eve.  It was necessary that life also should come through a virgin…

    14. Augustine, Sermons 51.3 [4th-5th century A.D.

    15. Through woman, poison was poured upon man, in order to deceive him, but salvation was poured out upon man from a woman, that he might be reborn in grace.

    16. John Henry Newman wrote: “The great rudimental teaching of Antiquity from the earliest date [about Mary] is that she is the second Eve.” (Pitre, p. 35).

    17. IV. Immaculate Mary:

    18. We all one day will be rendered immaculate (sinless), but Mary, as the prototypical Christian, received this grace early. God granted it to make her a fitting mother for his Son (Catholic Answers, tract Immaculate Conception and Assumption).

    19. Basic premise:  If Mary is the “New Eve” then she must be greater than Eve.  It is a basic rule that OT prefigurations are never greater than their NT fulfillments.

    20. Adam foreshadowed Christ, but Adam was not greater than Christ.

    21. David foreshadowed Christ, but David was not greater than Christ.

    22. Moses foreshadowed Christ, but Moses was not greater than Christ.  So too with Eve and Mary (Pitre, pg. 35-36).  If we follow this argument to its logical conclusion then Mary could not have even committed one sin because if she did she would not be greater than the Old Testament Eve!  Thus, just as Jesus, the new Adam, was created without sin and lived free from sin, so too Mary, the new Eve, was free from sin (Pitre, pg. 36).

    23. Moreover, if Mary is the New Eve then she must be greater than Eve!

    24. Ephrem, Nisibene Hymns 27.8 [4th century A.D.]

    25. Only you [Jesus] and your Mother are more beautiful than everything.  For on you, O Lord, there is no mark; neither is there any stain on your Mother.

    26. Augustine, On Nature and Grace 42 [4th-5th century A.D.]

    27. We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honor to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin.

    28. Note:  This does NOT refer to Christ’s miraculous birth (i.e., the Virgin Birth) nor of Mary’s conception through the Holy Spirit.

  •       Old Testament                                     New Testament

  1. 1. Adam: created without sin 1. Jesus: conceived without sin

  2. 2. Eve: created without sin 2. Mary: conceived without sin

  1. From Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary by Dr. Brant Pitre, p. 37.

  2. The ancient analogy used by Christians goes as follows.

  3. Suppose a man falls into a deep pit and someone reaches down to pull him out.  The man has been “saved” from the pit.  Now imagine a woman walking along and she too is about to topple into the pit.  But at that very moment someone holds her back and prevents her from falling into the pit.  She too has been “saved” from the pit in a better way.  This is how the grace of Christ saved Mary prior to her contracting original sin (Catholic Answers, tract Immaculate Conception and Assumption).

  4. Moreover, being free from sin does not equal being God.  Adam and Eve were created sinless but were not God as were the angels.  And the saints in Heaven are free from sin but are not God either!

  5. Concluding thoughts:

  6. There is compelling evidence to conclude that blessed Virgin Mary was connected with the prophetic passage of Genesis 3 depicting the battle between the offspring of the woman and that of the serpent, this is made even more clear in Revelation 12.  Blessed Mary is the new Eve which ushered in the redemption of the world undoing the fall of Adam and Eve, and so now blessed Mary becomes the (true “mother of all” as signifies the name Eve.  For in her Son our Lord we are redeemed from sin and death and so she too becomes our mother in a grand and spiritual sense.

  7. In St. John’s Gospel we are told that those who accept him [Christ] God gave them power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. Read John 1: 12-14.

  8. Closing prayer: Hail Mary.

  9. Works Cited

  10. Catechism of the Catholic Church: with modifications from the editio typica.

  11. Doubleday, 1997.

  12. Catholic Answers. “Mary – New Eve, Immaculate, Assumed.” Catholic Answers,

  13. Catholic Answers, 19 Feb. 2019, www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/mary-new-eve-immaculate-assumed.

  14. Ott, Ludwig. Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. Edited by James Canon. Bastible.

  15. Translated by Patrick Lynch, Mercier Press, 1958.

  16. Pitre, Brant James. Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary: Unveiling the Mother of

  17. the Messiah. Image, 2018.

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