Gospel Reflection for the First Sunday of Lent Luke 4:1-13
On the first Sunday of Lent each year, the story of Jesus’ time in the wilderness of his homeland is proclaimed in our churches. Jesus was in the desert for 40 days, and the Season of Lent from the first Sunday to Holy Thursday is also 40 days.
Jesus’ followers are, like him, called to prayer and fasting. Prayer—becoming more aware of the divine Spirit that surrounds us. Fasting—putting aside those things and situations which keep us from being the people we are meant to be.
But our world is far different from the world Jesus knew during his earthly life. The majority of us are busy during all of our waking hours. If we want to spend time in prayer, if we want to “listen” to God’s Spirit, we have to schedule this, like everything else. And if prayer becomes one more activity to cram into our busy lives, what is the point?
There’s also a warning in this well-known story. Sometimes the “voice” we hear is not that of the Holy Spirit. How can we know? One Scripture interpreter has proposed that if what we’re feeling called to be or do is all about us, that’s not God calling. This makes sense.
Perhaps we need to find a new way to live every moment of our lives. It’s not all about us or our immediate situation, no matter how wonderful or terrible that might be. The world is much larger than we are. We’re called to be one with it—to care for our fellow human beings and all God’s creation. And this care is not something we should ever have to schedule. It should be who we are.
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