March 10, 2019

1st Sun. of Lent

March 10, 2019:  First Sunday of Lent

See 18 connections with today?
Legend below

For Psalm 91
Pope Francis
Angelus: The temptations Jesus faced indicate paths the world proposes, promising success.
  • Turning stones to bread / the greed of possession:  The devil always begins with our legitimate needs to push us to believe we can find fulfillment without, even contrary to, God, but Jesus responds, “Man shall not live by bread alone.”
  • Becoming powerful / human glory:  Bowing before idols like money, success, or power can corrupt us and intoxicate us with empty joy that soon fades.  Jesus responds, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.”
  • Demonstrate your divine power / using God for your own advantage:  Jesus rejects the temptation, remaining humble and confident before the Father:  “You shall not put the Lord to the test”; he rejects perhaps the subtle temptation to bring God over to our side, asking for graces that only satisfy our pride.
These temptations are illusions promising success and happiness, but, foreign to God’s way, they separate us from God.  Jesus overcomes them by facing them, to adhere to the Father’s plan.  He shows us the remedies:  the interior life, faith in God, and certainty of his love can overcome every temptation.  ent is a privileged time to purify ourselves and experience God's consoling presence.
To cyclists:  Sport, like the Church, can foster excellence; it teaches perseverance, sacrifice, and self-denial.  It's often an opportunity to express the joy of living and the satisfaction of crossing the finishing line.
Cycling emphasizes virtues like patience, integrity, altruism, team spirit, determination, and solidarity.  You bear witness to the potential of the human being, created in God's image, and the beauty of living in communion with others and creation.  Athletes can communicate the positive values of life and the desire to pursue noble goals, but when the opposite happens and sport becomes an end in itself, and athletes serve other interests like prestige and profit, distortions appear such as doping, dishonesty, disrespect for self and others, and corruption....

  • Dt 26:4-10 Moses:  “Declare before the Lord, ‘My father was a wandering Aramean who lived there as an alien but became a great nation.  When the Egyptians oppressed us, we cried to God and he heard our cry, brought us out of Egypt, brought us into this country, and gave us this land.  So I've brought you the firstfruits that you gave me.’  And having set them before the Lord, you'll bow in his presence.”
  • Ps 91:1-2, 10-15 "Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble."  No evil shall befall you; God has commanded his angels to guard you.  I'll deliver him, answer him, be with him, and glorify him.
  • Rom 10:8-13 The word is near you, in your heart.  If you confess Jesus as Lord and believe God raised him, you'll be saved.  For there's no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him.  Everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.
  • Lk 4:1-13 "Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus was led into the desert for 40 days to be tempted by the devil; he ate nothing, Devil / Jesus:  “If you're God's Son, command this stone to become bread.” / “One doesn't live on bread alone.” / “I'll give to you power and glory if you worship me.” / “It's written: Worship and serve the Lord alone.” / “If you're God's Son, throw yourself down, for it is written:  he'll command his angels to guard you...” / “It also says, Don't test the Lord.”  When the devil finished, he departed from him for a time.
  • Creighton:  "Freeing captives":  Unlike the gods of ancient civilizations who were distant from and capricious with people, our God was attentive to human need and intervened with specific events, delivering, saving, rescuing, and freeing.  The 1st reading recites how God freed our Hebrew ancestors.  Jesus (“God saves”) broke into human history and battled with all that enslaves.  His temptation revealed a God who came in person to deliver the people he loves. We're all susceptible to the temptations he experienced:  to live as if material things are enough, to amass reputation and wealth to try to escape vulnerability, to presume no responsibility for our actions.  May we bring our hearts and lives before the Lord, especially the places where we're held captive.....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Reach the destination of Lent":  Lent is a march to our Easter renewal of baptismal promises.  Lent is Trinitarian:  the Spirit led Jesus into the desert, where he refused to doubt he was the Father's beloved Son. We imitate Jesus' 40-day fast, also waging war against the devil.  When we renew our baptismal promises, we profess our faith in the Trinity.  Holy Spirit, what have you planned for me this Lent?  Give me the power to make the necessary decisions and sacrifices to live my baptism with love, abandonment, and joy.
    Temptation of Christ/ Repin
  • Passionist:  “The word is near you, in your mouth and heart.” We need to listen better.  When things go well, we can assume it's because of our efforts, feel entitled to it, and succumb to temptations to wealth, power, and control.  And in hard times we can become like drowning persons who, when lifeguards arrive, are so frantic that our flailing and fear can drag our rescuers down with us (C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed).  God can’t give if we don't want to receive (ibid.). When we're deaf to God's help, we're more vulnerable to temptation it, grasping at illusory relief.  The antidote is attention to God’s word.  We can make time in daily life, times of energy and focus, not "leftover" time when we're too tired for anything else, to let God see and love me as I am, and ask eyes that see and courage to follow, or else we'll get caught up in the world’s word, become disconnected, stressed, worried, reluctant to speak out or use my gifts, tempted to withdraw lose sight of what is truly important.  The best time to listen, to connect with God, is now.  May we listen to God's word and work to bring that Word to life....
  •  "Jesus fasted 40 days and was tempted by the devil":  Jesus followed the pattern God had set for Moses and Elijah:  a 40-day journey of prayer and fasting to meet with God.  God tested Moses and Elijah to prepare them for a prophetic mission and leadership.  While Moses and Elijah prayed and fasted, God fed them.  Their time enabled them to be renewed for God's call.  Jesus likewise prepared by spending 40 days in solitude and prayer.  His tempter is the same deceiver who tempted Adam and Eve.  Satan knew Jesus was embarking on an important mission; perhaps he saw an opportunity to strike while Jesus seemed vulnerable.  The fundamental temptation is, My way or God's?  My will or God's?  Jesus refused to perform any sign that might test God.  Jesus relied on the Spirit for strength, wisdom, courage, and self-control.  We can't fight temptation on our own.  We're called to journey with the Lord in this season of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, repentance, and renewal.  The Lord gives us food and strength to seek him and prepare for combat and testing.  May we follow the way of the cross and share Christ's victory....
  • Trumped saint, from Universalis:  John Ogilvie, Jesuit priest, martyr:  “If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me.”
Dress legend
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  "All this power and glory has been handed over to me" (gospel); the Lord brought us out of Egypt with strong hand... (1st reading); angels shall bear you up upon their hands... (psalm, gospel); "all this power and glory has been 'handed' over to me" (gospel)
  • 'Stone' tie pin:  ...lest you dash your foot against a stone (psalm, gospel); "if you're God's Son, command this stone to become bread" (gospel)
  • 'Honey' tie:  The Lord gave us this land flowing with milk and honey (1st reading)
  • 'Angel' pin:  God has given his angels command about you to guard you (psalm, gospel)
  • 'Snake' tie pin:  You'll tread upon the asp and the viper (psalm); Satan tempted Jesus (gospel)
  • 'Lion' pin:  You'll trample down the lion and the dragon (psalm)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  He'll call upon me, and I'll answer him (psalm); all who call on the Lord will be enriched and saved (2nd reading)
  • 'Car with mouth' pin:  The word is near you, in your mouth and heart; if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord... (2nd reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  ...and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you'll be saved (2nd reading)
  • 'Dove' tie pin:  Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit (gospel)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  "One doesn't live on bread alone" (gospel)
  • 'Clock' tie bar:  When the devil finished tempting Jesus, he departed from him for a time.

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