1st Sunday in Lent - Year C - 14th February, 2016

Inward Journey

Lent is about something more radical and important than giving up some modest pleasure for a few weeks and then getting back to what is considered normal. It is an invitation to reflect deeply about oneself and the values and priorities that control our lives.

Today's gospel tells how Jesus himself was tempted. The essence of these temptations was the idea that he could go it alone, that he could be entirely self sufficient. Jesus resisted this because he recognized his complete dependence on the Father. We too need to recognize our dependence on God.

The bread he was offered when he was hungry is a symbol of how easy it is to justify putting our own comfort and pleasure before the needs and rights of others.

His trip to the high mountain with its offer of control over many kingdoms, alerts us to the many ways in which we can be tyrants in small ways through emotional black-mail in our families and through pressure groups on the job or in school. How often today do we hear of bullying?

The desire to be accepted and popular can be so strong that we are often tempted to do what will please rather than what is right, as Christ was tempted on the parapet of the Temple.

Jesus was not opposed to the notion of wealth and the enjoyment of it, for it is clear from the Gospel that he had rich friends and supporters and enjoyed their company. But he does warn about the dangers of neglecting our spiritual needs and allowing selfishness to take control of our lives to the exclusion of other important and more valuable treasures.

During Lent we have a chance to get below the surface of our lives. What is God calling me to? How does he want me to relate to the people in my world? Is there something that doesn't belong? Is there something missing? Maybe I just need to be reminded how close God is, that God is always at my side, offering comfort and strength in hard times. In this special time of year, we have a chance to go within and, like Jesus, to find our best selves. 

Fr Kevin O'Shea C.M.