The Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent, every year, narrates the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. This reading ushers us into the Lenten mood. It speaks about:
- Jesus’ fasting and penance for 40 days,
- His desire to be alone with God, His Father,
- His success against human temptations and finally,
- God’s assurance of help.
Lent invites us to imitate Jesus in fasting, penance, prayer and to come into the presence of God. It guides us to rise above our limitations by overcoming our temptations.
Lent will help us to reorganize our priorities. As Christians — or as the Second Vatican council calls us, ‘the people of God’ — our priority is to give God the first place in our lives. Jesus has said, “If you love your father and mother, brother and sister, husband or wife above Me, you are not worthy of Me”. Anything, therefore, that takes God away from our life or makes God less important is our temptation.
Then, how do we know what our temptations are? We need to look deeper into our own life for a clear answer. One of the simplest ways to search for our temptations is to see what our intimate attachments are. According to the present-day scenario, the biggest attachment of the present generation is over-dependence on social media — which may take away from us, all that we need to give to God:
- our precious time of prayer,
- attending the church for Mass and
- doing community service.
Feeling sorry for the modern generation, Pope John Paul II in 1996, urged the faithful to abstain from such ‘media’ for Lent. It is the media, in today’s world, that guides us to decide who we are, what we need, and what we should do.
Let us take away from our lives all those elements that keep us away from God. Let God be the centre of our life.
– Fr. Ranjan D’Sa OCD