March 1, 2020 (First Sunday of Lent)
… If you are the Son of God…
My friends, it is time for us to become more fully alive – it’s time to work together with God Who has come to get His world back! God had made us and planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and placed there the man whom he had formed. He wants us in the garden – that place of abundant life – with Him. The paradox of paradoxes is that – because of sin, the way into that garden is through the desert. In order to be fully alive, we must be willing to lay down our lives as Jesus did. That’s what this season of Lent is for: a time for us to unite ourselves with the mystery of Jesus in the desert.
The Enemy, however, doesn’t want to surrender his hijacked kingdom – he doesn’t want us to be fully alive; he doesn’t want us to successfully and patiently struggle through that desert of hunger, humility, and obedience. He doesn’t want us to trust God’s promise of life, and so he whisssperssss, “Did God really say …?” “Did God really sssay that His Church is the means of salvation? Did God really sssay that you must love your enemies and forgive those who persecute you? If you are the Son of God , why ssshould you have to ssssuffer? Why ssshould you have to wait? Did God really ssssay that marriage and sssex are sacred? Did God really sssay that He loves you when you’re sick or poor or lonely?”
Eve and Adam, of course, fell for hiss trickss, and so we all ssuffer the consssequences: sin, more lies, broken relationships, pain turning to anger, fear, … the list goes on. Until… just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous. Jesus came to get God’s world back – to set things right again; because, to God, your life is worth fighting for. Jesus came down to save us, and He went into the desert to pick a fight with the Enemy. He came to Satan’s home court, and He beat him down with the two-edged sword of the Word of God. He calls out for us now to join Him – to put on the helmet of salvation, which is Hope, and the breastplate of integrity and justice, which is Love; and to take up the shield of Faith; and to gird ourselves with the belt of honesty and the skirt of purity; and to shod ourselves for the spread of the Gospel.
So armed, let us embark on these 40 days of conversion through fasting: saying “NO” to my wantsss and desssiresss in order to make room for prayer: listening to God, who fills us with truth and love; and almsgiving: joyfully sharing with my brothers and sisters what He has given to me. Through these three Lenten practices, let’s enter the fray in the desert in order to come to the garden of life with Jesus.
Peace to all of you, my friends, this Holy Day, and to all who love the Lord in simplicity of heart,