“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.” On this First Sunday of Lent, we are alerted to the core reason for our journey these days. Jesus was in the desert for a particular and extraordinary reason: He shows 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: “Good and upright is the LORD, thus he shows sinners the way.” The 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 aid our demise if we are not careful and lose our focus on the things that matter in this life, which always outlive and outlast our existence here and pass into the next life.
The Chosen People, a precursor of the entire Church of God, was under attack and a 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. The Church protects all within Her through the waters of Baptism that end to the reign of sin and death around us and assures our arrival to the Promised land of heaven. “Put to death in the flesh,
he was brought to life in the Spirit.” 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