1st Sunday of Lent February 26, 2012
In Today’s Gospel we hear Jesus was driven out into the desert. As we reflect upon this Gospel we should realize from the beginning of time the desert has been an ever changing barren place where humans place their life in jeopardy when they venture there.
If one camped out in the desert in a tent and a hill was to the right of the tent, in the mooring the hill might have been shifted by the wind to the left. In the desert one might freeze during the night or be roasted alive in the afternoon. The desert is a no mans land where humankind has never had the ability to control. As such the desert is a place of the creator’s domain. A place which facilitates ones encounter with the one true God.
Jesus was driven like one who is pushed, pulled, yanked and shoved by the spirit out into the desert. It was an overpowering force he could not ignore – The Spirit of God himself sent Jesus, his son into the wilderness to endure testing and to encounter wild beasts. Jesus remained there for forty of testing not just one!
Forty days is a symbolic echoing back to the forty days of testing of Moses on the mountain top and Elijah in the desert. Forty days is the yarn that has woven the single tread garment of God’s salvation history together.
Jesus is showing us struggles and temptation are in themselves good for us. This is a Providence story. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches Providence is the stumbling block of evil.
Further it is a story that demonstrates the honor for the 1st and 2nd commandments. I am the Lord God – there is no other. Do not create false Gods before me.
The opposite of these commandments is what is taking place in our nation today. It is called Polytheism. Secular progressive American humanism and worldly idols are being fostered as tough the authority for our rights come from this human authority that knows better our Creator God. We are being tempted to exchange our rights, the truth and freedom for silver, gold, technology, sex, lust, power, control, and greed. All of these are Empty idols which lead us into bondage and slavery.
The lesson is simple, we cannot serve multiple Gods!
Evil is an unavoidable, painful, mysterious question with no quick answer. Only Christian faith constitutes an answer to the question of evil. Angles and people have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. God respects the freedom of his creatures and mysteriously knows how to derive good from evil.
We are living in providencial times. We are living in the desert of temptation from every possible angle, political correctness and human secular progressivism are demanding power and control over our God given freedoms. God is watching just as he did in the time of Noah? Will the people remember His covenant He regularly sends them in the form of a rainbow or will they turn away?
Will the people of America condemn themselves and their children to learn first hand ancient lessons of bondage and slavery in the desert for forty years before they awaken and turn around to the only spirit that can save them? Return to me with your whole heart and soul and all your being!
Do we realize the wild beasts of our life originate from deep within our human condition and the place we make our free choices? Even Jesus had to confront His human nature for we know He was fully human and fully divine and yet could not escape His human condition.
Today’s scripture teach temptation is an inner test, a struggle that strengthens each individual’s character and teaches each of us valuable lessons.
Lent in the Catholic Church is a time we can prepare for this moment of truth and the wild beasts running loose in our world and Satan who confronts us face to face. We cannot avoid this encounter it is upon us here and now – yes here and now in 2012.
These forty of days of lent are a gift from God to help us prepare ourselves to come to understand and accept in the midst of turmoil God loves us exactly as we are this very moment. The question is do you love ourselves more than our worldly stuff? We are created in the image and likeness of God. We are each given a soul and the freedom of choice. The Lord wants to love that spirit which he placed within us. He wants us to love our own soul so that we can be opened to begin to love all those who we encounter on the journey through the tumultuous world of 2012.