First Sunday of Lent 2014
This Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent puts the focus on Jesus. The season of Lent invites us to focus on the person of Christ- who He is and why He lived the way he did. This is not as easy as it appears. Jesus took time out to go to the desert to prepare for his mission and his identity. In the desert there was nowhere else to hide. It was in this wilderness that His personal, spiritual and psychological strengths were challenged by the Satan- master of delusion and denial. It was a time of transition for Jesus. We can all identify with this and remember these human experiences – no matter where we are now in our life cycle—birth, adolescence, mid-life, aging into senior years and eventual death. We have had many transitions in our lives. Now in this season of Lent, there is a call again to name what is our present reality as we continue to evolve into the future. It is a time to recognize the graced moments – even though it is uncomfortable, uncertain and disorienting. Change happens and we experience another level of relationship with ourselves and even God.
Like Jesus we are challenged to face our temptations but in our twenty-first century context. As consumers we may be drawn to seek salvation in material things and to desire the attention from others and find salvation in status and fame. We may not remember the desire for the common good and be tempted by seeking our salvation in political power and military might. Jesus resisted these temptations. It is not possible for us to live just by our possessions. If others are exploited, we cannot be saved.
Just as Jesus was able to face temptation and say no, so too is there hope for us. We can resist temptations to consumerism, materialism, violence, racism, and social and personal sin in our society and our culture. When Jesus was in the desert, He grew in awareness of the temptation of slavery to power, prestige and bread. When he left the desert, there was commitment to non-violent compassionate love and not domination over others. Let us hope that as we observe Lent this year, we may develop an awareness of the challenges of our world so that we can wrestle with the issues.
– Helen Martinez, PBVM
1. In the Gospel, Jesus uses the power of the “word of God” to defeat Satan’s temptations. During this Lent, what commitment are you
prepared to make about your time for prayer and Scripture reading?
2. As individuals, as a community, a church, as people of Earth, how do we face struggles with the hungers, illusions, and powers of
temptation that surround us daily?
3. What temptations do you find challenging in our Canadian culture?
4. What values seem to be in conflict with the values of Jesus Christ?