As we begin Lent, let us not forget the admonition on Ash Wednesday to repent, believe and remember. Lent is a time to put our spiritual lives in order so that we return God back to the centre of our lives. Our giving up, or taking on things, this Lent is only useful if it reminds us that we must rely not on ourselves, but on God. By denying this we might end up like the Israelites who were stuck wandering in the desert for 40 years before they came to their senses and received the promised land. Our temptations this Lent might be to give up before we even start, or to listen to the lies of the Tempter who wants us to forget that we are sons and daughters of God. In our Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent we see how Jesus was thrice tempted to satisfy his appetite, to defeat death, or to be like God. But all of these temptations were really attempts to make Jesus forget who he was – filled with the Spirit and the beloved Son of God. By Jesus remembering God’s promise to him he was able to withstand temptation, and by us remembering who we are in God’s eyes, we can withstand temptation too. Lent is a time for us to reconnect with God and to prepare ourselves to celebrate the Good News of the Resurrection. This will require us to forget ourselves each day so that we can remember God and God’s promise to us. But it does not mean that we must deny what God has gifted us with. Rather, in celebrating and being grateful to God we can affirm for ourselves again that He is the Lord, and we are His beloved. In doing this we can live this Lenten time joyfully as we deepen our relationship with the God who desires to be in relationship with each one of us.
Join Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ as he reflects on the readings for the First Sunday of Lent.
Deuteronomy 26:4–10; Psalm 91:1–2, 10–15; Romans 10:8–13; Luke 4:1–13.
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