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Spend time with Jesus in the desert this Lent

Based on the Readings Deut 26:4-10; Rom 10:8-13; Gospel of Lk 4:1-13

This First Sunday of Lent’s readings give us a head start on our “desert” experience for the 40 days of this season.

In Deuteronomy, Moses instructs the Israelites to observe a yearly ritual to thank God for his rescue and guidance during their years of desert wandering, their slavery in Egypt and their entrance into and life in the Promised Land.

In the second reading, St. Paul teaches the Romans, and us, to put our faith in Jesus, who offers salvation not only to the Israelites but to all people. However, in order to live by faith, internal conviction/belief requires external profession. We are made up of body and soul. By nature, we tend to express our inner convictions outwardly – especially necessary when the honor of God or the good of our neighbor require it. In all circumstances, God will always help us to profess our faith boldly.

In the Gospel, Jesus goes into the desert for 40 days to pray to his Father and to fast –eating little or nothing – before he begins his public ministry of teaching, calling people to repentance and belief in the Good News.

In the desert, the devil tempts Jesus, first by concentrating on Jesus’ hunger. Then, failing that, he proceeds to another human need – power and prestige. When that fails, the devil resorts to tempting Jesus to risk his life to coerce God the

Father to protect him. But, this is not the time for Jesus to lay down his life.

The devil tried tempting Jesus to doubt God the Father’s love, to abandon his mission to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven and to disobey God. Trusting in God the Father’s love and providence, Jesus emerges victorious over his battle with the devil, and the devil departs.

The church sets aside the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday as preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection to preserve life in heaven for us.  It is an opportunity for more prayer, changes in mind and heart, growth in learning about Jesus, fasting, abstinence, sacrifice and unselfishly sharing Jesus’ love with others. Jesus wants us to spend Lent in ways that will help us become better persons and grow closer to God.

Make your own symbolic desert by putting some sand and small rocks in a bowl and placing it in your prayer space at home. During Lent spend more quiet time with Jesus in your “desert” prayer space.