Scripture Reflection . . .
First Sunday of Lent
First Reading: Deuteronomy 26:4-10
Responsorial: Psalm 91 “Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.”
Second Reading: Romans 10: 8-13
Gospel: Luke 4:1-13
The season of Lent is an invitation to enter the desert and face our demons. Now, doesn’t that catch your attention! Yet, this exactly what Jesus did. After he was baptized and had the glorious experience of hearing God’s voice declaring him the beloved son, Jesus was “led by the Spirit into desert for 40 days, to be tempted by the devil.”
Perhaps Jesus needed these days out in a barren place, empty and away from all distractions, to process his identity and mission. He, like each of us had to face the temptations of security, power, and success.
Lent is our time to make space to listen and become aware of all that keeps us from being the authentic person God created us and calls us to be. It is a time to pay attention to our cravings for wealth, power, security, control . . .all the things that want to fill up our lives. Then, as in the book of Deuteronomy, we are able to fill our emptied selves with the awareness of our gifts and gratitude, coming before God in a stance of grateful humility; bowing in love before the Giver of all good gifts.
In Our Lives as Sisters of the Redeemer . . .
In this past week we were blessed by many experiences that enhanced our Lenten preparations:
Welcoming students from Michigan State University for their alternative spring break. Their presence among witnessed to the call to care for the most vulnerable as they participated in serice at a variety of locations in and around Philadelphia.
Making donuts for “Fat Tuesday.”
Visiting a Parish for a mini pre-Lenten retreat provided an opportunity to reflect on our Foundress’ spirituality and the Works of Mercy for which our congregation was founded.
Beginning Lent as community with our early morning Ash Wednesday Liturgy.
Attending a production of Mary Poppins performed by the students at a school where one of our Sisters teaches. One only has to notice Mr. Bank’s character to realize this is a story about facing the struggles within and of one’s past to become one’s authentic self.
In Your Life . . .
One way to become aware of the conscious or unconscious pursuit of security, power, wealth or control is to notice the presence of fear or anxiety within yourself.
One way to increase the experience of peace and freedom in your life is to notice what fills you with gratitude.
For a spiritual practice during Lent find a bowl or basket of any size and place it where you can see it on a regular basis each day. Keep a source of paper scraps near the bowl. Each time you feel fear or anxiety write down the source of that emotion, i. e. Aniexty over all the work still to be done this week. Then place that paper on the surface outside of the bowl. Each time you appreciate a personal gift, notice something that gives you joy, or experience gratitude, write that down on a scrap of paper and place it in the bowl.
You may wish to bring the contents of the bowl or basket to God in prayer on a weekly basis or wait until Easter. Your life is the greatest offering you can share with God and the world. Don’t let fear and the pursuit of security, wealth and power keep you from being the person God created you to be. You are loved!
Blessings on your week!