One of my responsibilities at Christ the King that gives me great joy is preparing families to celebrate the sacrament of Baptism. It is a privilege to walk with couples during this momentous time in their life and it gives us a chance to unpack the beauty of what baptism does for us. During the baptism session I like to introduce couples to an American Painter called George Tooker. Throughout his life Tooker painted scenes that reflected how often people look like they are together but actually are alone. Whether it be in a bustling subway station or at the BMV, people might happen to be in the same area, but each individual could feel lonely and isolated. One of his most striking paintings is simply called “Landscape with figures” and it shows an entire canvas filled with what looks like and infinite number of office cubicles. Each cubicle has a lone occupant, and each is walled off from each other.
We talk use this image to help us reflect on what we mean when we say original sin. Because it is easy to think of original sin as something Adam and Eve did that was so bad, and made God so mad, that somehow he still holds us responsible for what they did.
Hopefully it is clear that that would be a very dangerous and cruel notion of who God is. Instead, we talk about how original sin means a breakdown of relationships. Our relationship to God, to each other, to ourselves, and to creation has been distorted because of Adam and Eve’s fall. In some deep way, we are cut off from each other. Communication is harder that it seems like it should be. We […]