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Sunday, March 13, 2011

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First Sunday of Lent

Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
Romans 5:12-19
Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17
Matthew 4:1-11

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the view from the desert

"Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit." —Matthew 4:1

In the stark desolation of the physical desert, you can:

  • see clearly without distraction.
  • live simply, in a "lean and mean" lifestyle. Only the basic necessities for survival are valuable.
  • discern value clearly. We tend to overvalue the things the world affords (1 Jn 2:16). In the desert, a cup of water has far more value than a diamond necklace.

In Lent, the Holy Spirit leads us into the desert to speak to our heart (Hos 2:16). This spiritual desert is similar to the physical desert:

  • Temptations can be seen more clearly for what they are, without distraction.
  • Things that seem so important in the world, such as the regard of others, fade into obscurity in the spiritual desert.
  • Things that seem obscure in the clutter of society, such as God's opinion of you, are critically important in the desert.
  • Your need for God's provision and protection is acute in the desert. The consequences of rebelling against God's direction can be fatal.

Most of all, the desert is a place of love (see Jer 2:2). In the desert the Lord allures us (Hos 2:16) by pouring out His love into our heart through the Holy Spirit (Rm 5:5). The Israelites grumbled in the desert (see Ex 16:2), but in the Lenten desert, we will rejoice (Is 35:1). "In the desert prepare the way of the Lord!" (Is 40:3)

Prayer:  Jesus, let me count everything as loss so that I may always consider You, and You alone, to be my Wealth (Phil 3:7-8).

Promise:  "Through one Man's obedience, all shall become just." —Rm 5:19

Praise:  Praise Jesus, Who precedes us into the desert and teaches us how to pray.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July27, 2010

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