First Sunday of Lent


Today we celebrate the first Sunday of Lent.  We hear in the Gospel the familiar story of Jesus’ Temptation in the Desert.  In each of the three Synoptic Gospels, after his baptism, Jesus is reported to have spent forty days in the desert, fasting and praying. In Luke and in Matthew, the devil presents three temptations to Jesus. Satan tempts Jesus to use his power to appease his hunger, he offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus will worship him, and he tempts Jesus to put God’s promise of protection to the test. In each case, Jesus resists, citing words from Scripture to rebuke the devil’s temptation.

Each temptation that Jesus faces offers insight into the spirituality we hope to develop as we keep the forty days of the Season of Lent. We can trust God to provide for our material needs. We worship God because God alone has dominion over us and our world. We can trust God to be faithful to his promises. Jesus’ rejection of the devil’s temptations shows that he will not put God to the test. Grounding himself on the Word and authority of Scripture, Jesus rebukes the devil by his confidence in God’s protection and faithfulness.

Lent means spring.  This season calls us to conversion.  Christians are asked to return to God with their hearts.  Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us.  Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows his readiness to forgive.  Lent is a favorable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of prayer, fasting and abstinence.  At the basis of everything is the word of God, which during this season we are invited to hear and ponder more deeply. 

Pope Francis reminds us in his message for Lent 2022, we are called to “sow seeds of goodness for the benefit of others”, to take daily concrete actions in favor of our brothers and sisters. This means actively choosing to make visible and hear the voices of those people who are on the margins. This means actively seeking and reaching out to those whom society has excluded and making a place for them. This means to sow seeds of hope even in the darkest moments. This means putting into practice our call to love without exception.

St. Angela tells us, “For in these troubled times, you will find no other refuge than Jesus Christ.  For if it is he who directs and teaches you, you will be well taught…Act, move, believe, strive, hope, cry out to God with all your heart, for without doubt you will see marvelous things…”  Pope Francis and St. Angela both encourage us to reach out to others and hold them in prayer.  Let us make our world a softer, gentler place as we walk to road to Easter.