“Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.” On this First Sunday of Lent, we are alerted to the very core reason for our journey these days. Jesus was in the desert for a very specific and wonderful reason: He is showing us how to live and how to face the temptations of this life. He was strengthened by his fasting and supported by His very love for you and me. The Psalm of today also confirms this belief: “Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.” The three famous temptations of Christ could be saddled in the categories that should be more than familiar to us: passion, power and position. These passing commodities in this life can actually aid our demise if we are not careful and lose our focus on the things that really matter in this life which always outlive and outlast our existence here and pass into the next life.
“He brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand and outstretched arm, with terrifying power, with signs and wonders; and bringing us into this country, he gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.” Moses knew this firsthand. The chosen people, a precursor of the entire Church of God, was under attack and tremendous burden. The Lord heard their cry and was given yet another chance to find salvation and hope in this life. This “second chance” involves our entrance into the mystical Body of Christ which also has prepared us not only for the forty days of Lent but all the days we have left on this planet. Just like the manna by day and the pillar of fire by night protected all those following Moses through the dessert, the Church protects all within her through the waters of Baptism that put an end to the reign of sin and death around us and assures our arrival to the Promised land of heaven. “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” As we continue this great and marvelous time of renewal, we call upon the Spirit of God who led Jesus into the desert, who helps us maintain our Lenten focus and who inspires us with love and forgiveness now and forever.
Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, and what path we must take in life. Pope Benedict XVI