Greetings to you on the First Sunday of Lent. I hope and pray your Lenten disciplines (prayer, fasting, and almsgiving) are off to a good start.
We began Lent with the imposition of Ashes and the stark reminder that we “are dust, and unto dust” we shall return.
The all important lesson we take from this marking of our bodies is to ex- amine what our lives shall be between the time we have the ashes smudged across our foreheads and the time we become ash ourselves.
Through our Lenten observance we withdraw, with Jesus, into the desert to examine our lives and to be cleansed and purified.
As Noah and his family were saved through the waters of the great flood (Gn 9:8-15), we were saved through the waters of Baptism (1 Pt 3:18-22).
Right after Jesus was baptized “the Spirit drove Jesus out into the de- sert” (Mk 1:12). In the desert he was in harmony with the wild animals and was served by Angels. In this sense he represents a humanity that is restored, made new, a New Adam. The original Adam walked among the wild beasts and lived in peace with creation in Eden until tempted by the devil. Jesus was tempted by the devil in his time in the desert.
But where Adam failed, Jesus overcomes!
We too, once we are baptized, are driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness of the world. Once we’re in the world, we too will face temptation. Prayer is our weapon against the Devil. Fasting is our weapon against the flesh and carnal desires. Almsgiving is our weapon against the pride, anger, and greed of this world.
Jesus is with us in our moments of temptation. Remember what we prayed in Psalm: “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.”
Each of us is confronted with temptation everyday. Our Lord knows the struggle, he endured it himself, and His victory can be our victory. He will show us sinners the way if we turn to him.
As we embark on this journey through Lent, let us renew our baptismal vows - to repent and believe in the Gospel.
God bless you all, Father Robert Letona