I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
How have the first few days of Lent gone for you?
Did you choose to give up something (sacrifice) or add something that will help you grow closer to Christ?
As I shared on Ash Wednesday, I am doing a mixture of things. And, the reality is that many of the things I am doing are habits I want to engrain for life. After all, that is what many consider the real crux of Lenten sacrifice… changing for life.
It isn’t that a little mortification is a bad thing. But, if I know that I’ll start drinking coffee again after Lent, is it really a sacrifice that gets me deeper in relationship with Christ?
Christ’s Time in the Desert
The Gospel reading for this Sunday in the Catholic Church is the very short story of Christ going into the wilderness and facing temptation. I guess you could say Mark was writing the abbreviated version of the story compared to other Gospels. (Read my reflection of Christ’s temptation tied with the version in Luke.)
There is no mention of specific of his fasting and subsequent temptations, but rather a blunt, matter of fact accounting of this being Christ’s launch into his ministry.
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.”
Thoughts from Homily by Our Pastor
At St. Andrew Catholic Church in Eagle River Alaska, we are blessed to have the now retired Archbishop Schwietz as our pastor. Years of shepherding the church often come through in his homilies or talks.
At the vigil Mass, he spent the homily focused on the Gospel reading above. Specifically the first 2 sentences.
One of his points that jumped out at me was that temptation is something God allows to help us clarify our own mission in life.
The Gospel states that The Spirit drove Christ into the desert. He could have just started on his years of active ministry. Instead, he went into the desert to fast and pray as well as be tempted by Satan who targeted his human nature.
The Archbishop went on to mention how you can often see temptations occur after people have made a big commitment in their life. One of more of a couple may face temptation after marriage. Priests and religious can come under this as well following their vows. Those temptations are not there to say “hey, maybe you’ve made a big mistake”, but rather to forge in fire a firmer resolve to the mission ahead.
The other point that struck me was how Jesus was standing between the wild beasts (part of what is bound to earth) and the angels (heaven / spiritual world.) Like Christ, we are mortal beings with a soul (spiritual) that teeter between the 2 worlds. It is with God’s Grace that we work to maintain the balance while on earth. However, some people lose that balance and go to an extreme either embracing all the world has to offer with no regard to the spiritual, or shunning the material world to focus only on the spiritual.
What I am looking forward to now is reading a new pastoral letter the Alaska Bishops have penned: Living in the Image and Likeness of God. From what Archbishop Schwietz mentioned, the letter is focused on answering the question “What is our dignity as human beings and how do we live it out in our modern culture?”
40 Days of Seeking Him Sampler
If you have been reading the blog for a while, then you might recall that this link up started in 2011 as a daily one. I didn’t always participate in the link up, but have made an effort to do it as often as possible. We switched to a weekly link up format which means at least one anchor post per week here.
I decided to pull together a ‘sampler’ as a free ebook to subscribers. If you are already a subscriber, just open up a recent weekly newsletter and click over to the appropriate “subscriber only” page.
If you are not currently a subscriber, you can get your copy when you sign up.
40 Days of Seeking Him Week 1 Link Up
The linky will be up each week so you can add in posts daily, weekly, or whenever you are able.
The posts can be about anything related to Lent and preparations for Easter. This includes crafts, food, devotions, music or reflections.
I hope that my readers will join us on the journey through Lent as we seek to grow closer to Christ. Christian bloggers are welcome to join us in the weekly link up with posts that they are writing to showcase activities or reflections taken during this Lenten journey.
We are expanding the platform for this meme to include a 40 Days of Seeking Him Pinterest board for submitted posts and a Facebook group. I hope that you’ll check out the Pinterest board and join us on Facebook, too, as we seek to grow closer to Christ.