February 17, 2013 – First Sunday of Lent
On this, First Sunday of Lent, we are called to continue our 40-day Lenten journey with most of it before us. For us it is 40 days of preparation for the Resurrection of the Lord, during which we are called to prepare through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial. Traditionally, we, as Catholics have tended to focus on the denial aspects of Lent — that is, we give things up; we make an effort to make sacrifices, particularly in the area of foods, to give ourselves a sense that Lent is a time when we need to show these signs to God that we are willing to avoid things we like as a tribute to the Lenten season — to the fact that Jesus made the supreme sacrifice for us.
However, in recent years, even though these kinds of self-denial are important, it is equally essential that we make active efforts to deepen our faith, to gain a greater understanding of what it means to truly believe.
From a stewardship outlook, every day is filled with temptation. There is the temptation to view our many gifts as ours, not God’s. While we are tempted to share what we see as feasible after we have met our own needs and wants, we should be focusing on sharing our first fruits.
Jesus was confident in His Father; He trusted Him and was thus able to resist the temptations presented Him by the devil. We need to develop that same kind of trust. The last sentence of the Gospel makes it clear that the devil is not done with the Lord, nor with us: “And when the devil had tried every temptation, he departed from him for a while.” It is “the while” against which we need to be prepared.