29 Feb FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
Dear friends in Christ,
Every year, Christians all over the world are blessed with the Lenten Season as a new chance of grace and renewal. Every year, on the First Sunday of Lent, the liturgy retells the story of Adam and Eve who by the Serpent’s lie reached out to the forbidden fruit in the hope to be Godlike; and hence, the human race has been continually deceived by the same Serpent to follow the same walk into the same fall. Temptation is a trick, a deception, a lie.
Today’s readings are a lesson in comparison between Adam who is deceived and Jesus, the new Adam, who defeats the deceiver and chases him from his presence. This is a lesson of hope.
It’s common for all to think that Satan tempts us because of our human weaknesses: greed, power, money, fame, as well as pleasure. However, temptation can be more subtle as one’s feeling of self-satisfaction in terms of health, education, career, and human relationship. Privileges and talents that we enjoy so much in our culture nowadays can very well become temptations: they easily make us feel better and rise above others; that we know it all, we are all, or we can pretend it all. We are tempted to remain in some sense forever earthbound, for the ultimate letting go of ourselves can be the hardest thing to do.
Today’s Gospel tells that, “Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil.” In a way, Lent is the time for us to be led also by the Spirit into the desert of our hearts so that all that lies hidden deep within us, our sins and darkness and wounds, can come to the surface, and we can see ourselves as we really are. Lent calls us to follow Christ, to put our old self to death so to rise with Christ to new life.
Lent must not be looked at as a season on its own; rather it has to be seen as a stage in spiritual process of conversion. We are a people constantly in need of repentance and change. Lent is a time of new choices, a time to confront the choices we have made, a time to fix our wrong choices, and, above all, a time to find out what we are looking for in life.