Friday, February 19, 2010

First Sunday in Lent

Sorry about not posting last week, but I'm back this week!
Here is where you can find the readings for today.

Jesus speaks three lines in the Gospel this first Sunday of Lent. He is spending 40 days in the desert and he is tempted by the devil. His responses to the devil's temptation should be our guide in holiness this Lent.

Jesus' first response is, “It is written 'One does not live on bread alone.'” and so we cannot. Our life is made of the things our body does, and the things our spirit does. Many times they come together in beautiful harmony, and sometimes they do not. Our body is fed by food. Our spirit, however, is fed by God. If we do not bring our spirit before God on a regular basis for a refill, then our spirit grows weak, famished, hungry and dumb. Jesus tells us we cannot live on bread alone, and we cannot.

Jesus' second response is, “It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve'” and so we must. Our hungry spirits are fed by worship of our Lord God. Our spirit is fed by serving Him. In Lent, we are often encouraged to give something up, this is to make us recognize our physical hunger, and then spark us to recognize our spiritual hunger. Another way to awaken awareness of spiritual hunger is to serve others. When we share our love with others through labor, donations, or direct service to those in need, God's love is returned to us, strengthening our spirit.

Finally, Jesus says, “It also says, “You shall not put the Lord, your God to the test'” and we mustn't. Lent isn't a time to give up chocolate secretly hoping that weight will be lost, but many approach it this way. Lent is a time to give up chocolate and reflect. Reflect upon the poor of the world, many of whom have never tasted chocolate, who cannot afford chocolate, who cannot even afford water or rice to eat, who go to bed hungry, wake up hungry and live and work hungry.

Our Lenten sacrifices are meant for the poor. The poor who hunger in body, and the poor who hunger in spirit. While we in the USA hardly hunger in the body, we often hunger in the spirit. Our Lenten sacrifices are meant to direct our spirits towards God in humble sacrifice. Our Lenten sacrifices of body should become our Spiritual Thanksgiving of fullness. What we sacrifice in food or extras, that money saved should go to those who hunger in the body. The money saved from our chocolate sacrifice does not have to be large to make a great impact. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta once said, “ If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” I pray that we may be full this Lent in spirit and find our bodily sacrifices feed at least one.

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