Bulletin: February 26, 2023
First Sunday of Lent
Ashes and gardens, failings and faithfulness, death and life. As we enter into Lent, we are invited to turn our thoughts, hearts, and lives toward God and God’s ways, to turn away from the death of sin, which separates us from God, and to embrace the gift of life offered in Christ, now and into eternity. Eve and Adam listened to the serpent rather than God who had given them a garden filled with beauty and abundance. On the contrary, Jesus stood firm in the face of temptation. This Lent, we ponder the choices we make in our daily lives, trust in God’s mercy as we repent from sinfulness, and strengthen our commitment to discipleship, following Jesus’ model of faithfulness.
TURN AWAY FROM SIN
Lent is a season in which we resolve to turn away from sin and turn toward Jesus. Turning away from sin requires us to admit that we miss the mark and fail to live as God desires. The first Sunday of Lent always includes a gospel account of Jesus facing temptation in the desert. Notice that it is not generic temptation Jesus meets, nor do we. Our temptations are personal, areas of particular weakness, situations in which, like Eve and Adam, we may rationalize and give in to sin rather than holding firm to what we know is right and just. Jesus gives us a model for meeting temptation: draw on the wisdom and truth found in sacred scripture and the teaching tradition of the Church to know what we must do or not do. Be strong and know that the Lord is with you as you resolve to be faithful.
TRUST IN GOD’S MERCY
“Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.” The refrain of today’s Responsorial Psalm gives voice to our conviction that God is good and reminds us that we can trust in God’s mercy as we face our sin, seek forgiveness, and resolve to avoid sin in the future. The more deeply we grow in relationship with Christ, the more sure of God’s love we become. Rooted in this love, we can admit our failings and trust that God always desires to be close to us, drawing us into abundant life. Lent is a good time to seek God’s mercy and forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation. We can take heart in the assurance that forgiveness awaits our repentant heart.