First Sunday of Lent

Homily Video

First Sunday of Lent Homily Transcript

I remember when I was in fourth grade, the start of the Lenten season, Sr Denanos said, “Okay, boys and girls, “what are you giving up for lent?” I raised my hand and said, “Homework.” I got in big trouble for that. Come home after school, my mother said, “Greg, what are you giving up for Lent?” And I said, “My brother.” Mom was not pleased. Now, in many ways Lent identifies us, names us, tells us who we are and who we can become. For our life is a journey, but a journey at times filled with pain, struggles, temptation, joy and hope. You know, there is no resurrection without the cross, in the life of Jesus or for us. But now, why do we have to carry a cross in life? The following true story may provide a clue. When I was a very young priest, I used to have a very unique hobby when I was newly ordained. I raised canaries at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Schaumburg. So, over 35 years ago, one of my female canaries was sitting on four eggs. I walked into the room at precisely the moment three of the little eggs, about the size of your thumbnail, started to crack open. I was fascinated watching the struggle these three baby canaries had to go for life, and through its life itself. I also noticed the baby canary in the fourth egg, unable to break through its shell. So I returned about three hours later and noticed three of the babies resting comfortably on the bottom of the nest, totally free of their shells. However, the baby canary in the last egg had made very, very little progress, and still struggled ferociously to free itself from the shell. Interesting enough, mother canary offered no help to free the canary from its shell. Well, Father Greg to the rescue! I decided to help. I cracked the shell in two small spots, left the room, and about two hours later the baby freed itself from the shell. However, two days later, that baby canary died. And I asked myself why. I came to realize I didn’t allow the baby canary to struggle with life itself. I didn’t allow the baby canary to experience a very real side of life, it’s pains and its struggles. No matter how many times we try to love another person, we need to experience life’s struggles and pains. Lent is a time of repentance, hope and change. And in those struggles, the Lord is with us. God became human, that we might become divine.

Readings

First Reading:

Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7

Second Reading:

Romans 5:12-19 or 5:12, 17-19

Gospel:

Matthew 4:1-11

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