First Sunday of Lent

The 1950’s was a time when the television was replacing the radio.  Oh, how many of us, don’t remember the 1950’s ?!?!?

  • Only three or four channels of T.V.
  • No high definition
  • No remote – You had to actually get up to change the channel

Some of the TV shows of the 1950’s were:

  • Lassie
  • Perry Mason
  • The $64,000 Question
  • Bat Masterson
  • Beat the Clock
  • The Jackie Gleason Show
  • The Millionaire
  • The Twilight Zone
  • The Mickey Mouse Club
  • The Honeymooners
  • G.E. College Bowl
  • The Dick Clark Show
  • Queen for a Day
  • Zorro

 Also during the 1950’s an interesting rivalry develop with two shows.  One show was, The Texaco Show hosted by Comedian Milton Berle, who was also called “Mr. Television” and “Uncle Milte” and was the reason many people bought their first T.V.   The other show was: Life is Worth Living hosted by Bishop Sheen – a religious and inspirational TV show opposite “Milton Berle.”

The friendly rivalry saw Bishop Sheen go against Milton Berle and win an Emmy.  To which Milton Berle quipped, “He’s got better writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

And when accepting the Emmy, Bishop Sheen shared, “I want to thank my writers:  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

And finally, giving a nod to Milton Berle – Uncle Miltie – Bishop Sheen one evening opened his show by saying, “Good evening, this is Uncle Fultie.”

This intro is a long way to get to something that Bishop Sheen shared about temptation, which is the Gospel theme today.  Bishop Sheen  shared, “Why is it that any time we speak of temptation we always speak of temptation as something that inclines us to do wrong. We have more temptation to become good than we do to become bad.”

No doubt we need to resist and avoid temptations that are wrong, bad, illegal or immoral. But, what about the good?  The good we avoid or overlook that presents itself to us in any number of ways daily and throughout our lives.

The good temptation to:

  • Assist someone in need this moment, this day.
  • Join in helping others know we care and God cares about them.
  • Join in, rather than sit out.    (Ministry; Faith Formation; etc…)
  • Build up the Kingdom of God in word and deed.

For the past two Lents, we have had posters in church that say, “Don’t give up chocolate for Lent.”

Now there is nothing wrong with sacrifice or giving things up, but it is a matter of giving up the right things.  Jesus began his ministry by saying, “repent.”  I do not think that he meant “quit eating chocolate.”  Jesus knew, as we know within us, that “we can grow much greater by doing something much greater.”

In the movie, Chocolate – in the last sermon the Curate gives, he says, “We cannot go around measuring our goodness by what we do not do, by what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude.  We’ve got to measure our goodness by what we embrace, what we create and whom we include.”

+ What should we embrace?  Might it be Jesus and his forgiveness… and our embrace for everyone who we have wronged.

+ What should we create?  Might it be a new life in Jesus, that our Lenten exercises support.  Lenten exercises that change our habits.  For our lives change when our habits change.

+ Whom should we include?  Just ask, whom have I excluded from my family, my church, my neighborhood, my country?  What petty walls of jealousies or prejudice have I built to exclude others.  Whom can I Include among my friends, my Parish, my neighborhood, or my country.

Temptation may be all around us, but may God’s spirit lead us to reject wrong, evil and unwise temptations.  God’s spirit also leads us to be open to saying YES, to embracing the many good temptations that present themselves today, tomorrow and every day.