FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT Deut.26:4-10, Romans 10:8-13, Luke 4:1-13
Lent this year has a special meaning during this “Year of Mercy”, a year for us to forgive and be forgiven. Lent also begins on the feast of St. Valentine, a day that turns our minds and hearts to love. What a great combination: Love and Mercy! Two wonderful gifts God showers on all his faithful servants.
In today’s first reading, Moses reminds the people of God’s great love and mercy for them. Upon hearing their cries, He frees them from painful oppression in Egypt and delivers them to a land of “milk and honey”. God does this again for us in Christ. Our Christian faith convinces us that God delivers us from the slavery of sin and brings us to the promised land of grace and salvation by the death and resurrection of His Son.
St. Paul tells us salvation calls us to confess with the mouth what we believe with the heart. God’s word takes root in our hearts when we believe. We are urged to speak what we believe: that Jesus is Lord and God raised Him from the dead. Our lives as well as our lips must speak of our faith in Christ. This promotes the “New Evangelization which encourages us to reach out and share our faith with others.. Paul asserts what scripture tells us “Salvation is for all.” The Lord of all offers the hope of salvation to everyone.
Luke’s gospel shows Jesus filled with and led by the Holy Spirit into the desert for 40 days to be tempted by the devil. We can relate to the hunger Jesus experiences after fasting for 40 days which coincides with our Lenten fast and sacrifices. Luke casts Jesus as an ordinary man who endures three severe temptations with the help of the Holy Spirit. We too can call on the Holy Spirit when we are weak and are in need of strength, mercy and love.
Pat Higgins Michel, Associate