The 1st Sunday of Lent
Here we are marking the First Sunday in Lent. Last year we couldn’t celebrate Ash Wednesday, and we couldn’t celebrate Holy Week. It seems like we’ve been trapped in a year that never ends. The account of Christ in the desert is an appropriate image of what we’ve been experiencing. It has been a year of endless “temptation.”
What the gospel narrates can be applied so easily to us and our experience: The Spirit drove Jesus into the desert for 40 days, tempted by Satan.
I personally believe that we’re experiencing a Spirit-directed time of temptation—a time of grace. We’ve been forced to realize how fragile our health is. At the same time, we’ve been forced to see how fragile our country is. Our time of temptation isn’t over. Covid still rages, and the battle to preserve our democracy continues. We’re still in the desert.
Mark adds an important sentence to his account of Christ’s temptation that we need to take seriously: He was among the wild beasts and the angels ministered to him. This is a reference to the kingdom of God. The image recalls Isaiah’s lion and lamb in the new Eden, the new world. These angels will minister to Jesus again in the garden of Gethsemane to prepare him for his Passover.
This year’s 40 days of Lent are, perhaps, the most important time we’re ever going to experience. Temptations are sent to us to make us strong. We’re being challenged to renew our faith with a vigor and fervor we’ve never imagined. But the Spirit is with us in our temptation. We’re being guided by that same Spirit to open our eyes—to envision, maybe for the first time, the world God intended for us—the kingdom of God. As Saint Paul told the Corinthians, “the world as we know it is passing.” May his kingdom come.
Let Us Pray:
Heavenly Father, I pray your Son’s prayer in a special way today. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. May Christians, and all people of good faith, join together as brothers and sisters united in love for one another. May the sacrifices we make for the good of all help to bring about your reign, your kingdom on earth.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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