March 9, 2014
1st Sunday of Lent, Year A.
(revised from a Homily posted on 3.13.11
Today, the Church begins the Season of Lent.
The goal of Lent leads us to seek the living Christ and to renew our love for him by practicing Christ-likeness. Thus, the practices associated with the Lenten season include fasting, the denial of the self, Godly repentance, daily conversion, sharing our resources with the other in need, and a renewal of simplicity in life.
In short, Lent is about self-sacrifice and the way of the cross. Not the homily we've usually come to expect! You know, five easy answers to ten difficult problems.
It should be noted that this Lenten emphasis on a personal renewal toward the Christ actually fits very well as a continuing invitation to follow-on after Jesus that we've heard from these past few Sundays when we have been thinking-through the Sermon on the Mount. Lent continues the Sermon's call toward doing the will of the Father and walking the Jesus-way.
With Lent, however, the emphasis shifts from Jesus' sermon to his wilderness sojourn. Here we see Jesus paused, in hesitation, not immediately practicing his kingdom project. In fact, we see Jesus being led from the glorious, mountain-top moment of his Father's profession -- "this is my beloved son," and his Father's direction -- "listen to him," straight to a time of stillness and solitude and intense struggle.
Does it surprise you that the Father saw the need to prepare Jesus' heart for the treacherous journey which lay ahead? Does it surprise you that Jesus needed a period of quiet soul-provision before GOD, prior to his mission project?