Lenten Meditations, 2017
1st Sunday of Lent
Gn 2:1-7; 3:1-9
Our Lenten journey on this 1st Sunday of Lent unites us with Jesus in the desert or wilderness. The Scriptures today call us to focus on the themes of temptation, sin and redemption.
The 1st reading from Genesis attempts to explain the entry of sin into the human condition and we're introduced to the tempter. He's a seducer and he enrapts Adam and Eve with that most appealing of desires: to be like God, to take God's place, to surpass God. Lent calls us to look inward at what seduces us other than what is godly.
There was a famous 70s comedian named Flip Wilson. He has a famous line - "the devil made me do it". Funny stuff, bad theology. Sin is a choice we make, it is a choice that separates us from God. The temptation was strong for Adam and Eve for sure but the choice was theirs. The choice is ours, despite our preference to always blame someone or something else. Lent calls us to look at the sinful choices we make.
The tempter was successful in bring down the fall. He enticed them to sin and paradise was lost. But we never lost the love of God. He would love us back through his Son. But the tempter was there in the desert, just as he was in the garden, to try Jesus with his allurements. Starting at the base level he wanted Jesus to satisfy his hunger after his fasting. This is the temptation we face; satisfying our material or physical wants. Jesus said no and instead gave himself as the 'bread of life' for all of us.
The second temptation Jesus faced was to seek approval and adulation of the people by performing a great feat to prove he was the Son of God. In my hubris I have often asked God to 'prove it' only to be reminded today "you shall not put the Lord, your God to the test".
The third temptation is to worship the devil in order to receive all worldly power. Wow. Firstly the devil is a liar, not a purveyor of 'alternate facts'. He has nothing to give, all belongs to God, secondly the devil is not God's equal, he is a creature, made by God, hence Jesus response to worship God alone. Failing then the devil left. Jesus shows us the proper response to the tempter.
In the second reading St. Paul sums it up:
"For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous."
Temptation, sin and redemption. Peace.
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The Season of Lent is a special time for us to slow down, look inward and make the necessary changes to truly become an Easter people.