Homily (2) First Sunday of Lent Year A. Reflections – Fr .Michael U UdoekpoReadings: Gen 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Ps 51:3-6, 12-13,17; Rom 5:12-19 and Matt 4:1-11
The Spirit of Lent
Last Ash Wednesday, introduced us into another Liturgical season of Lent. It is a season we commemorates the 40 days of Jesus' prayer, fasting and moments of temptations in the desert. It is a time for prayer time and spiritual renewal for us. So many things to pray for: ourselves, families, world peace , peace in Ukraine, and peace between the West and the Russians(today).
It is a time we learn to say yes to God, and to manage our temptations, taking examples from Jesus’ play book, resisting all kinds of pleasure and temptations for power, wealth and influence. It is a favorable time for a change of heart. It is a time closely look at ourselves on the mirror. It is time for rebuilding, a time for restoring, and a time for repairing our spiritual houses. It is a time for repentance. With the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, The Gospel of Joy- perhaps the Lenten season this year’s gives us another unique opportunity to reach out to neighbors, to renew our relationship with the poor, and pray and include the needy, the weak, the voiceless and the marginalized in our political and economic plans. It is a time we reassure ourselves that God is near us. He accompanies us on our journey. And the reading of today fit perfectly the spirit of this season.
In the First Reading (Gen 2:7-9; 3:1-7), the second creation account, our God though transcendent is immanent. Like a potter he created us from the clay of the soil. He is a famer. He walks in the garden. He planted the tree of life in the garden. Its forbidden fruits were eaten by Adam and Eve who were tempted by the serpent. This risked the sin of disobedience that God continues franks at throughout the history of our salvation, throughout the history of God’s covenant relationship with us. Almost every single of Israel’s prophets would remind us that “obedience to God’ precepts” of love and social justice is better than sacrifice.
Saint Paul picks on this in the second reading where he says, through the disobedience of one man, sin came into the world and through obedience of one man also many were made righteous (Rom 5:12-19).
In today’s gospel (Matt 4:1-11), after his baptism, Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert to be tempted by the satan thrice: “if, you are the Son of God, command this stone into bread, throw yourself down from the pinnacle of this building or if you prostrate and worship me., all these shall be yours.”
If Christ could be tempted who are we then? Lent would be time to reconsider the truth of the Gospel message of today that none of us is above temptations and trials of doing something contrary to the will of God (examples abounds), or seeking our personal glories rather than the Glory of God in our vocations and positions of power, meant for the service of our brothers and sisters. We have also heard about tyrants, bullies and political dictators round the globe. Recently, our government is running No Bully.Com, program. We also do see assorted acts of injustice on the TVs. We read them on the newspapers.
As we journey through this Lent let us all pray for increase in grace, to imitate Christ by overcoming trials and temptations in this life. As we sing and pray psalm 51 for repentance, let us continue to joyfully allow God’s grace to reassure us that nothing will ever separate us from his steadfast love.