First Sunday in Lent: Matthew 4:1-11
Last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, we began this liturgical season that commemorates the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert. We embrace this journey once again in our lifetimes in preparation for Easter joy. We started the season with putting ashes on our foreheads that came from burned palms a day before. The palms are a symbol of victory, so all our victories are but ashes before the glory of God. These may be just a few ashes but they mean a lot. They are a symbol of our need for God. We are nothing but dust and ashes apart from God. He gives us life, new life.
Ash Wednesday and Lent come along every year to remind us that we belong to a world of death and sin, but we are not abandoned here. We come from ashes but we are destined for new life, Life Eternal. Lent only begins with dust and ashes, but the story goes on. On Easter morning a spark appears in the ashes and dust, that lights an unquenchable flame. It culminates in a glorious day of resurrection that brings us New Life. The story affirms for us that, because of Jesus, neither ashes nor dust have the last word because life does.
Some people only celebrate the happy times in Jesus’ life; Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday and Christmas. But I think as true friends in Christ, we should watch and pray with him on Holy Thursday, stand by him at the cross on Good Friday, and retreat with him into the wilderness during this Lenten season to Embrace the Journey: from Ashes to New Life. This is our Parish theme for the Lenten season. Reflect upon this theme and the three questions that were given on Ash Wednesday to see how your journey is going.
¨ Do you recognize Jesus in those you meet along the way?
¨ Do you find Jesus in the ordinary moments of your day?
¨ How do you accept the joys and disappointments that you encounter?
May the Lord grant us a Lenten Season that is different from all the others that we have lived. May we know how to take advantage of the opportunities that we will be given to come to a complete conversion of our lives, to rise from ashes to new life, that He brings through his Passion.