Brothers & Sisters:
Lent is a time of trial, and our lesson from Matthew’s
Gospel today reminds us of the temptations which Jesus endured in his ministry. Lent is often viewed negatively as a time of don’ts. No eating, drinking or merriment. But Lent is supposed to be a time of hope. Jesus confronted temptation and was able to say ‘no’ to wrong actions, just as in Gethsemane he said ‘yes’ when called upon to do God’s will. So now we know there is hope for us! It is possible to resist temptation. It is possible to resist the pressures of our culture and society and to be free. IT is possible to turn away from consumerism, materialism, violence, racism, and all kinds of social and personal sin.
Jesus’ forty days in the desert and his encounter with the evil one is a sign of hope for us all. Jesus was aware of the insidious temptations to be a slave to bread or power or prestige. But instead, he chose a commitment to a non-violent compassionate love rather than domination over others.
May our Lenten observance lead us to a deeper awareness of the world in which we live and its culture challenge. May we be better prepared to wrestle with the important issues of this world and avoid the temptations to conform to things which are incompatible with our faith in Jesus.