Church of the

7580 Clinton Street
Elma, New York 14059


March 06, 2022

First Sunday of Lent

Lent lends itself to personal introspection as we take a closer look at ourselves and decide on sacrifices of prayer and fasting to shape our souls for Christ. We tend to think of what we can do as if my/our holiness is a task of self-improvement. Lent isn’t about me; it’s about accompanying Jesus into the desert to learn the deeper meaning of his and my/our baptism. Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit at his baptism in the Jordan River, is led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days to be tempted by the devil. In the Bible, the devil is the false-accuser, deceiver, and distractor, who trips us up and causes us to sin like the cunning serpent in the Garden of Eden. All three temptations are deceptions that what lies ahead for Jesus will be easy. Jesus, God’s Beloved Son, knows love requires sacrifice.

Jesus is hungry. The devil suggests to Jesus that he can transform stones into bread and satisfy his hunger. Jesus replies, “One does not live on bread alone.” Jesus will multiply loaves of bread and fish when he feeds the multitude and, at the last Supper, when he transforms bread and wine into his Body and Blood.

The devil takes Jesus to a lofty mountain, shows him the kingdoms of the world, and promises him all earthly power and glory if only you worship me. We know how seductive power can be as it is exercised ruthlessly by President Putin in Ukraine. Power corrupts. Jesus will not seek earthly power and glory. After this testing in the desert, Jesus will begin his public ministry when he returns to Nazareth, enters the synagogue, and reads from the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor…”  Ahead for Jesus is not a scepter of power or crown of glory but the cross.

Lastly, the devil transports Jesus to the parapet of the Temple in Jerusalem. The deceiver entices Jesus to throw himself down to be saved by God’s angels before he is dashed on the stones below. What a spectacular show that would be. Jesus refuses. “You shall not put the Lord, your God to the test.” Near the end, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus will pray to his Father to spare him the cross. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” St. Luke, the evangelist, comments, “an angel from heaven appears to strengthen him.”       

Lent is the season we discover love requires sacrifice. My everyday sacrifices and sufferings, though small in comparison to what many people face daily, are not in vain. Thomas à Kempis in his Imitation of Christ assures us, “Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God’s sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God.” Lent is the season for us to love like Christ. Pope Francis is asking us to offer our prayers, fasting and almsgiving in solidarity with our brothers and sisters suffering in Ukraine. We are one in Christ.    


Eighth Sunday Ordinary C

Second Sunday of Lent C


Stewardship is having the wisdom to understand that everything we have is a gift from God.

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