First Sunday of Lent, Year B, 22nd February 2015

Lord, make me know your ways. Make me walk in your paths.

On Ash Wednesday, we began our journey of renewal, a sombre reminder that here on earth we have no lasting city but are seeking one that is to come. Without God we are but dust and ashes, but with God we more precious than silver and gold.

As we begin another Lent, no matter how many Lents we have lived through, the call “to repent and believe the good news” is as urgent as it ever was. Another year has come and gone and we are conscious that there are unredeemed areas of our lives that need attention and the “demons” within that need to be challenged.

Like the author of today's psalm we want to follow God's paths but find it hard to do so.

Firstly, there is the difficulty knowing which path is God's. At times we have all struggled to decide what on the right course of action. We come across many paths but we are not sure which one is the right one.

At times we know what is the right path but we succumb to the allure of other paths. We are faced by the second barrier, alluded to by the psalmist, our human sinfulness. Yes it is time “to repent and believe the good news”.

We should find encouragement in the account of the Lord’s temptations in the desert. Their successful outcome marks the beginning of the ultimate conquest of sin. Already Jesus can declare “The kingdom of God is close at hand”

Lent is a season of grace when the church invites us to leave ourselves free to be loved once more by God who cares for us totally. It is a journey of preparation towards our celebration of Easter and all it should mean for us.

The opening prayer of our Mass expresses it beautifully: “Grant, Almighty God, that through the observances of Lent, we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct grow in His likeness.

May our spiritual journey during the forty days of Lent be a time of grace for us. May we emerge at Easter with a clearer sense of God's path and with renewed strength to follow it.

Fr Kevin O'Shea, C.M.