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Bulletin: March 10, 2019

First Sunday of Lent

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, and then the devil tested him. Moses and the Israelites had been in the desert for forty years before being led to the land of milk and honey. There were times when they called out to God, sure that, as Saint Paul wrote to the Romans, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” We sometimes spend time in the desert as well. Not a literal desert most of the time, but a desert in which it seems difficult to perceive God’s presence, times when we face difficulty and are tempted to leave God’s ways behind. On this First Sunday of Lent, Jesus shows us what to do in these moments: stand firm and trust in God.

Stand Firm

It may be difficult for us to imagine Jesus being tempted. He was God, after all. But he was also fully human, and faced the temptations and trials of life just like the rest of us. In fact, this is one of the key aspects of our faith. Jesus came to be one with us in all things but sin. He understands our weaknesses and the difficulties that sometimes happen in life, and he is with us, strengthening us to stand firm in faith, as he did in the desert, throughout his earthly ministry, and on the cross.

Trust in God

When Moses and the Israelites were in the desert, they sometimes grumbled. Fearful and anxious, they questioned whether God was really with them, in spite of the many signs and wonders of God’s fidelity to them. Gradually, they learned to trust that God would always lead and be with them. They grew in awareness of God’s presence, and were thankful for the gifts of God in their midst. In celebrating the first harvest in the Promised Land, they gave their first fruits back to God as a sign of their gratitude. Have you ever grumbled at God in a time of anxiety or worry? At times, we may be tempted to turn away from the life to which we are called. It is in just such moments that we may learn from Jesus, who responded to temptation by turning toward God and trusting God’s will completely. Look around. Be attentive to the many blessings in your life, and know that all good things come from God. Lent is a season when we turn our lives around, opening our hearts and lives to see the Lord’s goodness and responding to it with our lives. Let us follow Jesus out of the desert, ready to give of our first fruits, the fruits of our lives, talents, resources, and faith.

Today’s Readings: Dt 26:4–10; Ps 91:1–2, 10–11, 12–13, 14–15; Rom 10:8–13; Lk 4:1–13

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