Scripture Readings: Deuteronomy 26: 4-10; Romans 10: 8-13; Luke 4: 1-13
I am sure that many of us remember the 1954 Movie: White Christmas, with such stars like: Danny Kaye; Rosemary Clooney and of course, Bing Crosby.
As the movie nears the end, there is a scene where the troops of General Waverly gather to surprise their former leader. As he enters the ballroom, the troops stand ready for inspection. As he inspects the troops he says:
“I am not satisfied with the conduct of this division. Some of you men are under the impression having been at Anzio entitles you not to wear neckties. Well you’re wrong. Neckties will be worn in this area! And look at the rest of your appearance. You’re a disgrace to the outfit. You’re soft! You’re sloppy! You’re unruly! You’re undisciplined!” And then after a pause the General continues, “and I never saw anything look so wonderful in my whole life! Thank you all.”
On this First Sunday of Lent, after hearing about the 40 days of Jesus in the desert and resisting of temptation… After hearing from our elders about “Lenten Fasting” back in the day; and I mean back in the day – even before Father Joe. Catholics fasted for 40 days… one full meal and then two other meals that did not add up to another full meal and of course nothing in-between meals.
Talk about rigorous! Talk about fasting! Talk about sacrifice!
Like Jesus, you and I are tempted every day to turn from good… to turn from God…
Seems to me that one of the things LENT is, is a reminder to us to remember that the Spirit of God is within us, just as it was with Jesus. The Spirit of God is meant to help us, to support us, to point us to the way of goodness and the way of God – even when we are tempted, again and again and again to turn from goodness and from God.
In comparison to those Lents of many years ago, we may be a bit soft. A bit undisciplined. But like the General, our God also says, “And I never saw anything look so wonderful in my whole life!”
God’s love, God’s presence in our lives will never abandon us…
Hopefully God’s love, God’s presence leads us closer and closer to God, to one another and to our being Faithful Disciples.
During the week ahead, what might be the one temptation that we have, that our God is calling us to resist, to even remove from our lives?
- procrastination is our temptation… how can we act now, not later?
- criticism or gossip is our temptation… how can we speak of the good or speak good about others?
- we think others can help… how can we help others this week?
We can all put a name to our personal temptation. (And if we can’t, just ask your spouse, your parents, your children… they will be eager to help you!) May this week, with the help and support of the Spirit of God bring us to taking the step/s necessary to avoid our personal temptation with a bit more hope, strength and courage – that “with God, all is possible.”
May this be our “Best Lent Ever” in becoming the person, family & Parish that our God calls us to be today, tomorrow and always.