First Sunday of Lent - 2014
Father God, Lent truly gets underway this day. The SUNDAY READINGS bring serious matter for our consideration. We are reminded in the reading from Matthew's gospel that there is a reality joining us to one another in a very personal e experience. We are victims of temptation, all of us! Even Jesus endured three of those moments after his forty-day retreat in the desert. After such a lengthy experience of prayer and fasting, your Son, Jesus, was also a victim of serious temptations. Satan was convinced he could undermine Jesus' resolves. What an insult and trial that must have been for the man, the son of Mary and Joseph.
I wonder how Jesus told Matthew or all of the evangelists. It must have been difficult to have that responsibility so that all of us would know in even another way how much your Son was willing to endure for us, sinners that we have been and are. You know, I am sure, but the final words of this story surely caught my attention today. "... behold, angels came and ministered to Jesus." Why did this happen?
As a priest, I hope I never forget that scene -- especially when I am privileged to absolve the sins of my brothers and sisters, penitents who recognize the need to come to you for their forgiveness. How painful it is for some to say to another human beings "... and these are my sins." How blessed are we, confessors, who can be the "angels" who minister to the sinner, one of my brothers and sisters. Honestly, Father, it is truly humbling because, like the penitent before me, I have knelt before on of my brother priests with the same words: "and these are my sins." It is always humbling for me and so many of my brother priests, this Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Lord, God, mindful of my on failure to over come temptation, I have been brought to a moment of reflection on the values of fasting. These words from a professor who is also a wife, a mother, a convert to Catholicism and herself a student once again who wrote the following words. Her words also captured my mind and heart: "Fasting is a powerful spiritual discipline. Fasting and prayer can (and does) [sic] bring about change. Sharing her first fasting experience after her conversion, Jan wrote about it this way: "I had the sense that fasting allowed the Holy Spirit to reveal to myself a clearer picture of my true spiritual condition."
So, Father, this young professor and nursing teacher has brought me to consider that fasting is more than steering away from food and drink and candy and alcohol and cigarettes, etc.. Maybe today I should review how much time I spend before the TV. It would be a sacrifice to fast from the several evening shows that become a controller of my calendar several evenings each week. Perhaps I can fast from entertainment and turn to enlightenment. Would it be that you are calling me to fast from television shows that I watch weekly and use the same amount of time for spiritual reading of one kind or another.
Father, take care of Jan and her family. This is a woman whose spirituality is enlightening! If you wish to read the reflection she composed, just click on HERE IT IS! Let us not forget: Oremus pro invicem!
From The Hermitage,