Sunday, February 14, 2016

40 Days of Reflection During Lent: 1st Sunday in Lent


Today marks the first Sunday during Lent and the appropriate time to tell the story of Jesus and his 40 days in the desert with the devil.  I find that in life, we are all put to the test of our faith.  Faith that the Lord has a plan and knows all that is occurring.  Is it the 'plan' that we would see unfold?  No.

It is difficult to see the misery and pain unfolding around us and not think that GOD is not here to help us or to protect the innocent.  At what point did we become more than GOD?   Do I actually believe that GOD allows these things to happen because he is apathetic?  Or do I believe that in our darkest hour of human tragedy that GOD will be there to carry us to peace?   GOD gave us free will and with that free will we have the path to be merciful or to condemn; to feed the needy or to feed off the needy; to be the light or follow the darkness.  FREE WILL.   

In today's reading, Jesus (having the free will that the Father placed within his human existence) was put to the test by the Devil, where the Devil commanded Jesus to task the LORD to prove that Jesus was truly the son of GOD.   The exchange between the Devil and Jesus is one of the best in the New Testament because it shows that faith does not need proof for existence.  Faith lives in us all and with that faith, comes the existence and beauty of our relationship with GOD.  Not the other way around.  A proof of GOD, would undoubtedly spawn faith, but the very definition of FAITH is to believe in a GOD based upon spiritual apprehension rather than proof.   WOW!
1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.3The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."

4Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone.'[a]"

5The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7So if you worship me, it will all be yours."

8Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'[b]"

9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. 10For it is written:
" 'He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'[c]"

12Jesus answered, "It says: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'[d]"

13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

How many times throughout the day do we put our Lord to the test?  How many times do we worship our money, our jobs, and forget the Lord that brings all to fruition?  How many times do we eat, but are not fulfilled in life?

When we pray to GOD, we enter into a very personal relationship with the LORD.  It is a unique relationship in which we find solace and meaning and the act of praying helps clear the mind and for me, reboot my soul.   We live by faith and not by sight.  Why should we believe that in order to have our faith, a visible miracle should occur.  How is it that we lost sight of the miracles that happen every day around us and yet still have faith questions.

How amazing and beautiful our relationship with GOD.  The meaning behind Lent also becomes more clear through the above passage.  We too must journey for forty days and be tempted to test the LORD.  But at the end, what an amazing time we have when we join together and celebrate the risen Chris through the Pascal Mass.  Through his son Jesus, we can be fulfilled with the word, commune with GOD and forever have faith.

Amen

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