First Sunday of Lent

Scriptures:      Genesis 9:8-15;     1 Peter 3:18-22;     Mark 1:12-15

I usually don’t give a title to my homilies, but I thought today’s homily might be called:  “The Wall.”

There are so many kinds of walls:

  • Walls in our homes, in all the buildings we enter
  • Walls in fields (stone walls, wooden walls, metal walls)
  • Imaginary walls that cut us off from another person or zone us out from hearing another person.

And, I would guess that the most famous standing wall is the Great Wall of China; and the most famous wall taken down was the Berlin Wall – that was erected in 1961 cutting off the people of West Berlin from the people of East Berlin until it came down in 1989.

But the truth is, we are tempted, maybe every day, to build walls between our self and God; between ourselves and Individuals or groups or institutions; even between our self and our self.

We are tempted to build a wall for just about any reason that we feel or determine.

**We see this happen in families; when walls go up between spouses; or parents with children; or children with parents.

**We see the walls go up when it comes to issues of the day; or politics; and even religion.

**We see the walls go up between liberal and conservative.

**We see the walls go up because a person says or does something different than us.

**We see the walls go up when people are asked to see or think or do something different or new… to change.

**We see the walls go up even when we are asked or reminded that we need to be faithful to our promises and commitments to God, and others, and even self.

The temptation to build walls does not come from God.

Jesus knew this and with the help and support of the Spirit of God, He was able to resist the temptation to build any type of wall between God, others and Himself.

Lent, my friends, is not only asking us to resist the temptations to build walls in our lives between God, others and self.

Lent is also reminding us to begin the process of tearing down the walls that already exist, in our lives between God, others and self.

What walls need to begin to come down this Lent and going forward, in our lives?

Here is one example of tearing down walls that was posted on Facebook this Ash Wednesday:

♦  “For Lent I am giving up 30 minutes a day of television; computer; phone; sleep etc. to spend more time with God.  In addition I am going to try my best to stop yelling and using unkind words especially at my kids.  That will be nearly impossible without some great help from God.  So here we go…”

One person’s response to this post was:   “Good luck.”

Lent is that graced time of the year to begin to tear down the walls between God, others and self.

Good luck – with God’s Spirit we like Jesus can resist the temptation to build walls and build up the Kingdom of God here on earth as it is in Heaven.

So here we go…