February 21, 2021: First Sunday of Lent
Reading: Mark 1: 12-15
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
Jesus faced, but did not succumb to temptation. Each of us, on the other hand, has many times succumbed to temptation. Thankfully, our Loving God offers us the opportunity to ask forgiveness for our sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
We sometimes tell God we really would always like the soft pillow of a clear conscience. Why can’t temptation be marked with a red warning light? Yet, we each do have a “temptation meter” within us. Namely our conscience. First job is to make sure we keep the “meter” calibrated with prayerful reflection.
Next is to ensure we hear the initial sounds as the meter is triggered. Stepping back to give oneself the time to answer “Why doesn’t this feel right?” may give one the opportunity to choose to leave that temptation in the dust.
After putting temptation behind, Jesus began His public ministry. We are called to imitate Jesus in this. Put past temptations and failings behind you with a good Confession. Then, move forward rejuvenated and with a peaceful heart to do what you have been called to do.
Each of us knows an area of temptation that is a “work in progress” for us. Let us spend some time this week in thinking about how we can more quickly and effectively walk away from situations that present that temptation.