READINGS: DEUTERONOMY 26:4-10; ROMANS 10: 8-13; LUKE 4: 1-13.
Lent has begun- more than a simple season on the calendar but an opportunity to remember, reflect and confront demons.
Often, our focus is on our shortcomings or on events in the world that can be terrifying, leaving us feeling powerless and alone.
Today’s first reading from Deuteronomy asks us to broaden our focus and begin with another starting place. The reading for today tells us to begin by remembering God’s actions on our behalf, in this case, the Exodus of the Hebrew people from Egypt. Perhaps as Lent begins we can focus on the goodness which God has shown us in our lives, not in giving us things but in healing and guiding us to a more authentic life.
Reflection is also called for in Lent. Paul’s Letter to the Romans reminds us of the need for faith which seems basic and even redundant for good- church-attending Catholics. But I think faith is a major issue in our world today- do we really believe in God? Do we want a god who gives us what we want, in other words a god in our ‘image and likeness’? Paul reminds us that the Christian God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is beyond our comprehension, and categories but is a God who is Love and loves us completely as individuals. Reflection is called for not only on the depth of our faith (with an appeal to Christ to increase ours) but do we place our hope in God. As Paul says “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. This promise does not immunize us from suffering, uncertainty, or self-doubt but one that allows us to ground our life on God.
Confronting demons. There is a fascination in popular culture, secular as well as Catholic, with demons and this can sometimes become obsessive and a barrier to daily life. The Gospel of Luke reminds us that Jesus began His ministry in the desert with reflection and prayer. During this time He had to confront a demon who made three promises- pledges which reveal to us the nature of all temptations, namely alluring, illusory, and ultimately destructive.
During Lent we are called to confront our personal demons- demons normally far less dramatic than in Jesus’ case but just as real. Demons of greed, gluttony, lust, hedonism, intolerance, indifference, egoism, and a lack of trust in God. Demons block us from communion with others and God. During Lent, we are called to ask God’s grace to face us to our personal demons, as Jesus did, and strive for conversion.
So, Lent is a time for memory, reflection, and the confrontation of our personal demons.
Please support Mission Doctors Association which supports doctors who confront the sufferings of God’s poor and bring God’s healing through modern medical treatments.
God bless and Happy Lent!