Homily February 22, 2015 First Sunday of Lent
As we begin lent, we once again recall Jesus going out into the desert to pray, to prepare for what lay ahead of him as he began the mission of calling all to repent and return to God. Realistically, all of us have been called and baptised into Christ’s blood and have the Spirit within us. We are followers of Christ, who have professed our belief and been baptised. However, at the same time, we are human and are open to the weaknesses of being human. Christ himself was subject to the temptations incumbent to his humanity. Even he could see that there were possibly shortcuts he could take to make his life easier. As Son of God, he knew his uniqueness and abilities. Yet, he never presumed to do anything that was contrary to what he came for or that was for his own comfort or ease.
This time we share is 40 days of lent which started on Ash Wednesday and goes through Holy Thursday. 40 is a recurring number throughout salvation history and is very much identified with the idea of preparation. The Israelites waited 40 years in the desert to prepare a new generation for the land promised because those who left Egypt had betrayed God’s trust and thus were held back. That experience and Jesus’ time of preparation and the liturgy of the church have long emphasized the penitential nature of lent. Certainly, it is a good time to step aside and in the presence of God examine who we are and ask where we as all humans do, fall short of doing things in the best way. Our biggest challenge is to remain faithful without being satisfied that we are all ready set because the structure, the law makes us right. Remember, Jesus condemned the leaders because they could not see beyond the law to the people who the law was supposed to serve. As believers, we come and share Christ’s Body and Blood regularly, but as we receive and are strengthened, it is so that we can do just a little bit better. It is as if we know and feel we could possibly give that little bit more to complete who we are.
We can not forget that the seed of weakness and self-interest lie within us. We must prepare and be vigilant that we not give in and lose sight of ourself and fellow humans. Perhaps none of us are destined to reach out to great multitudes of people, yet each day we in one way or another touch the lives of many people. This is the love and life we give to each other and those around us. That is what we need to prepare, the ability to overcome our weakness and reach out to others and share the love of God we have received. If depriving ourself of things is what does it, then fine. But giving, sharing God’s love, Jesus’ gift of death and resurrection, that is what is most important as we share this lent together. Giving your time or talent to someone in need, whether it simply be to listen or to share a few minutes of time, both of you will share God’s love in a special way.
It truly is one of the ways to rid yourself of those inner temptations and doubts that sometimes attack us.