“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God. ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.’”
On the first Sunday of Lent the Church always presents to us one of the Gospel accounts of the temptation of Jesus in the desert. This year it is Mark’s account which is very short, stark and direct. There is nothing about the three temptations found in Matthew and Luke. Mark simply says “Jesus remained in the desert for forty days tempted by Satan.”
As we begin our Lenten journey, Satan will be working overtime to tempt us to disregard and discard our Lenten practices of prayer, sacrifice and almsgiving. Satan will try to convince us that these practices are meaningless and a waste of time. Satan will try to distract us with all sorts of enticements which will attempt to deflect the message of Lent that the Kingdom of God is at hand and that we need to repent, and believe in the Gospel.
Very often our focus during Lent is to give up things, like candy, desserts, or alcohol. These practices of self-denial are good and worthwhile, but we also need to focus on those sins in our lives that separate us from God and others. Friday’s reflection in the Word Among Us on the daily reading from Isiah reminds us that God is calling us to fast from injustice – to set free those who are oppressed, to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked. We are also called to fast from the smaller injustices we might commit against the people we interact with each day. Fast from gossip which is destroying the reputation of others. Fast from criticism which tears people down and strikes at their dignity and self-image. Fast from complaining which creates a negative atmosphere in our homes and workplace. Fast from grudges which overtime hardens our hearts toward others. These kinds of Lenten practices will go a long way to show God that we are trying to repent of our sins and believe in the Good News of Jesus Christ.
So we pray, God our loving Father, we ask that you send your Holy Spirit to lead and guide us during this Lenten season. Help us to do those things that are pleasing to you so that you may transform us into the kind of disciples you want us to be. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
We pray for all the sick and all who have died especially Ora Lee Jordan. May they rest in peace! Amen.
Stations of the Cross will be held on the Friday’s of Lent at 2 PM.