First Sunday of Lent
First Sunday of Lent Homily Transcript
Happy Lent, everyone. Let’s one of my favorite times of the year. Gives me a good excuse to give up alcohol and sweets, that’s kind of my standard Lenten fast, so I will be dropping off my bottles of Scotch and butterfingers at Father Scott’s office here at Mercy Home. And I will be for 40 days fasting, but it also gives me an excuse to go into the desert.
Now, the desert is a spiritual metaphor for quiet solitude, simplicity for prayer. I always find it interesting that the temptation in the desert, 40 days Jesus is in the desert. As we all know, it happens right after he begins his public ministry. Which starts with the baptism in the Jordan River. And his public ministry, the baptism starts after Jesus has been spending 30 years more or less in the desert.
This is the hidden life of Christ, if you’re familiar, kind of with the chronology of our Lord’s life. We don’t hear much about Jesus from essentially the Nativity, may be the finding in the temple when he was about ten or eleven years old until he’s 30 years old. And the finding in the temple is just one little scene.
So basically 30 years, Jesus is living a hidden, simple life; with his mother, Mary and his father, Joseph for a time until Joseph died. So for 30 years, Jesus didn’t do anything. He’s not performing any miracles. He’s not saying any, you know, giving any teachings. He’s simply with his mother and with God the father, in prayer. A simple, hidden life of prayer and solitude.
So for 30 years, I mean, I can barely spend an hour in silence, 30 years in silence is a long time. So, you think when Jesus would come out of that 30 years of silence and be baptized and there’s all these crowds, the Jordan River, he’d be ready to go, ready to start the mission and give the miracles and go after Herod and so forth. And what does he do?
He immediately leaves again for 40 days, which is a pretty long time and goes back into the desert for prayer to be alone with God, the father. And then when he comes out of that 40 year, 40 day, time in the desert, then he’ll begin his ministry. He’ll call the apostles to himself. He’ll give the sermon on the Mount, all the miracles and so forth, leading into his death.
So Jesus goes into the desert right away. It’s where we’re meant to be. Jesus, of course, is a model for each one of us. We are called– And notice Jesus led by the spirit into the desert. We’re called by the Holy Spirit to have our active lives with our families in our jobs, whatever it is. But we’re also called each day to go into the desert the time of prayer. And even sometimes at night, too, before we go to bed, perhaps to spend some time in the desert reflecting how our day went and lent gives us that perfect excuse to do so.
No, I’m not going to have chocolate and beer before I go to bed at night. I’m going to spend some time in prayer. I’m not going to turn on the TV or check my phone. I’m going to spend some time in prayer. That’s why we give up these things for Lent. So we can be with the Lord in simplicity, and God can really feed us.
Now when we go into prayer each day and each night, alone with Jesus and God the father, driven by the Holy Spirit, the enemy, the devil is always going to try to tempt us. Just he did it to our lord. He’s going to do it to us. And what he’s going to try to do is always to separate us from God the father. You notice the three temptations are always an attempt to, for Jesus to act on his own. Jesus always acts in union with God the father.
The miracles he performs are inspired by the Lord above. But the devil tells Jesus, “If you are the son of God, you turn these stones into bread.” “You throw yourself down from the temple pit.” “You get all these kingdoms of the world.” He wants Jesus to act on his own to be separate from God the father. And you notice Jesus obviously resists all those temptations, but he always just simply quotes Scripture: We shall not put the Lord your god to the test.
So, the enemy is always going to warn us when we’re praying, “Just– this is a waste of time. Go do your own thing. Go eat that chocolate or go, you know, watch TV, whatever you want to do.” We should say no. Remember our fulfillment, our true bread, our true meaning and love is to be in union with the Lord, with Jesus, with God, the father and Holy Spirit.
So, resist those attempts of the enemy to separate you from the Lord and put your heart in the heart of our Lord and in the hands of the father. And he will give you a blessed Lent and a blessed life. Amen.
Lk 4:1-13 (24)
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