FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
In today's readings, we learn how two very different beings — Eve and Jesus Christ — respond to the Devil's temptations.
In the first reading from Genesis, we are reminded of the story of Adam and Eve and their taking from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve is easily convinced by the Serpent to take a bite of an apple, for
"The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom."
And in today's Gospel passage, we read about Jesus' suffering in the desert and the temptations he faced at the hand of the Devil. When the Devil brings him to the temple in the holy city and questions whether God will save him, he answers:
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Both Eve and Jesus are offered promises of greatness and comfort. However, there is a fundamental difference in the responses Eve and Jesus chose to take. Eve sought to gain the wisdom of God. Jesus chose rather to trust in His wisdom.
And in the same way the Devil tempted Jesus with magnificent kingdoms and Eve with knowledge, we are faced with temptations that seek to separate us from God. Many of us obsess over the accumulation of money or desire romance. We allow ourselves to focus on the latest television show or movie. We define ourselves by augmenting ourselves outwardly with the latest label or trending technology. Often — and I myself am guilty of this — we give into those temptations, at the expense of our own spiritual growth. We focus on the outside without looking inward. And so I ask you when was the last time you considered your relationship with God?
For most of us it is when we are suffering or afraid. We begin to bargain. We would all do well to take a lesson from Jesus. Certainly he faced suffering, his own and that of others, let he chose to face his pain with faith and forgiveness. He looked inward and upward.
It is important to remember that these are not times for us to question God. They are not tests of our faith or His love. Rather, they are times for us to become reflective and purge what is unimportant. If we shed the trappings of convenience, status and superficiality, we can better know ourselves and God.
Lent, a time of fasting and abstinence, offers this chance to learn to grow.. We deny ourselves during this time to bring ourselves closer to God and to gain appreciation for all that He's given us. If we learn to find God in these moments during Lent, we can gain the strength to learn to find Him at all times.
Danielle Lacey works in Marketing and Communication.