A common theme in the post-Apostolic and Patristic writers is that Jesus Christ in His various works, reverses the deeds of Adam, thus restoring humanity to its rightful relationship with God. Christ obeys the Father, whom Adam disobeyed. Christ obeys the Father even to death. Christ’s obedience leads to the resurrection of Himself and all humanity from the dead.
And while every action of Christ was seen as undoing Adam’s disobedience and sin, we who are united to Christ become part of that saving process. So when we obey God, when we love our fellow human, when we give food to the poor for example, we are using food for what is was created and intended – a means of expressing love and communion. When we give in charity to feed the needy, we undo Adam’s treacherous use of food for self gain. When we remedy the hunger of another, we return to Paradise and make all food again to be love. So, St. Basil the Great, writes how the most simple of human gestures – sharing food, can also be the undoing of original sin so that we can participate in God’s love and salvation.
“For Basil, giving food does more than cover sin: it redeems the cosmic flaw. . . . he asserts that ‘as Adam brought in sin by eating evilly, we we ourselves if we remedy the necessity and hunger of a brother, blot out his treacherous eating.” (Susan R. Holman, The Hungry are Dying, p 83)
In giving food to the hungry, we blot out Adam and Eve’s turning away from God for selfish reasons. We participate in salvation, in the work of Christ, in making the Kingdom of God present on earth.