Reflection for Sunday – February 26, 2023

Readings: Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11 
Preacher: Sheryl Zabel

I was so moved last week when I saw on TV American physicians performing surgeries in tents in Turkey to save people’s lives.  Surely, they were doing God’s will.  And we all should be doing whatever God is calling us to do.

But, as our first reading reminds us, sin entered humanity, and it is still very much with us. We are all tempted, in one way or another.  And way too often we give in to the temptations.

Before he began his public ministry, Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days.  He could have had that time to reflect on his upcoming ministry among his people, and I am sure that he did.  But even Jesus was tempted by evil.  And in particularly evil ways.

I have always been fascinated by the third temptation.  Jesus could rule over the entire world.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  Wouldn’t people live as God wants us to live?  However, there was one big problem.  In order to rule the world, Jesus would have had to submit himself to the devil.  No way would he do that.  If he had, how much different would our world be from what it is? If anything, it would be worse.

Lent, of course, is supposed to be our forty days in the wilderness.  A time for quiet prayer and contemplation.  A time to give up some of our usual activities or indulgences.  A time to reach out to one another.

But in societies like ours, who has the time?  So much is going on: work, school, sports, traveling for business or pleasure.  We can’t be like Jesus in the desert.  Problem is, if we are so busy, we can still  be tempted to do wrong, but we won’t recognize it as a temptation.  So—during Lent this year, let us find some quiet time to be with Jesus and his teachings.  An hour a day?  An hour or two once a week?  Even that is better than nothing.

St. Joseph Sister Mary M. McGlone writes that human beings were created as images of God, and we are called to live our lives in this way.  It is our vocation.  May this Lent be a time when we truly come to accept and live this calling, and may we continue to live as God wants us to live, not only during Lent, but throughout every year.

Sheryl Zabel
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