How do you deal with temptation? That’s the personal challenge given to us by the Word of God on the first Sunday of Lent. And so we begin our journey with Jesus, traveling to the holiest place we can reach at this point in our lives.
This Lent is like no other Lent. Last year, you had different needs, different areas of growth, different levels of insight and understanding. Much has happened since then, and all of it is a preparation for what the Lord is going to do in your life right now.
What victory do you need this year? What needs to be resurrected? To get there, Jesus will lead you through the cross of penance and self-denial, into his tomb, and out into God’s light where his love provides healing and new life.
During Lent – and every time we make sacrifices and connect our sufferings to the Passion of Christ – we follow Jesus to the cross and to resurrection. This involves seeing our own crosses in a new light, for the Calvary Road is the only way to reach the victories that we yearn to experience.
If we want Easter to be more than just a holiday of colored eggs, chocolate bunnies and big dinners, we have to make Lent more than just 40 days of enduring an annoying, obligatory sacrifice, eating meatless pizza on Fridays, and going to an occasional extra event at church.
If we want to experience the power of resurrection, we have to experience the power of mourning and repenting from our sins. In other words, we have to experience the powerlessness of death – the death of our selfishness, the death of our worldliness, the death of our behaviors that are not like Christ’s.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
What can you do this week to die to self? For example, think of a good deed you can do that’s the opposite of what your selfishness wants you to do. How will this spiritual exercise make it easier to resist sin?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
1. In the story from Genesis, what did Adam and Eve need to die to (let go of, put aside, or reject) in order to resist the Original Sin? Why didn’t they?
2. In the reading from Romans, we hear about the abundant grace and the gift of justification that Jesus provided to each of us when he died on the cross. How does this grace and justification give us life? In other words, how does God help us to resist sin?
3. Looking at the Gospel passage, what did Jesus have to die to in the desert so that he could say no to temptation?