• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 15 February 2013 14:52

First Sunday of Lent – Year C

Written by SVD


First reading: Deut. 26:4-10
Second reading: Romans 10:8-13
Gospel: Luke 4:1-13

The Desert Experience …

Friends, we are now in this great holy season of Lent and the church invites us to attend to one of the most powerful passages in the Gospel, Luke’s account of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. I often say, that Jesus is not meant to be admired, Jesus is meant to be followed or better even participated in. St. Paul says, it’s no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. The gospel invites us to participate in Jesus. We see Jesus at a moment of weakness facing temptations as we all do. Jesus wanted to experience human life to the full, with the exception of sin.  Facing temptations and how we respond to them are integral parts of our lives; Jesus experienced them too. God never tempts people beyond their strength. But He permits us to be tempted. Therefore, we learn from Jesus what it’s like to face temptations and how to face them. Therefore, I wish to reflect with you today on the great Lenten theme of The Desert Experience …

One day, a Baby Camel and a Mother Camel began to talk, and the Baby Camel asked, “Mommy, why have we got these huge three-toed feet?” The mother replied, “To enable us to trek across the soft sand of the desert, without sinking.” “And why have we got these long, heavy eyelashes?” “To keep the sand out of our eyes on the trips through the desert,” replied the mother camel. “And Mom, why have we got these big humps on our backs?” “They are there to help us store fat for our long treks across the desert, so we can go without water for long distances.” “OK, I got it!” said the baby camel, “We have huge feet to stop us sinking, long eyelashes to keep the sand from our eyes and humps to store water. Then, Mommy, why are we here in a Zooooooooo … ” Modern life sometimes makes one feel like a camel in a zoo. And like camels in a zoo, we need sometimes to go into the desert, in order to discover who we truly are. Lent invites us to enter into this kind of desert experience.

In the OT the desert was the birthplace of the people of God. For 400 years they lived like slaves in Egypt. They cry out to God and God listens to their cry! Frees them with a mighty hand under Moses and for 40 years they were in the desert, God forms them, gives them an identity. It is in the desert that the people of Israel receive their identity. They become God’s chosen people. It was in the desert God enters into a covenantal relationship with them. The great prophets like Elijah and John the Baptist were people of the desert: they lived in the desert, ate desert food and adopted a simple desert lifestyle. Therefore, the desert becomes the university where God teaches His people.

In today’s gospel we read that “filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert.” Jesus wanted to experience human life and he was one like us in all things except sin. Like us, Jesus too experienced a period of temptation. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan. Yes, the desert was the school where Jesus came to distinguish between the voice of God and the voice of Satan.

How many voices do we hear from the moment we get up in the morning till the moment we go to sleep at night? The countless voices in the daily news paper, voices on the radio and the television, voices of those who live and work with us, not forgetting our own unceasing inner voices. In the desert we leave most of these voices behind, to focus on distinguishing between the guiding voice of God and the tempting voice of Satan. Our life is not all about me but our life is life in God.

In the desert we come to know ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, and our divine calling. There are wild beasts and angels in each of us. Lent is the time for the desert experience. We cannot all afford to buy a camel and head off for the desert. But we can all create a desert space in our overcrowded lives. We can set aside a place and time to be alone daily with God, a time to distance ourselves from the many noises and voices that bombard our lives every day, a time to hear God’s word, a time to rediscover who we are before God, a time to say yes to God and no to Satan as Jesus did.

As we begin this period of Lent, let us expect temptations and testings to intensify during the next forty days. Temptations are indispensable for our spiritual progress, because each temptation provides us with a new opportunity to choose God, to express to him our deep commitment, to grow in love of him. “Lent is a Joyful Season, when we prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery with mind and heart renewed.” As we contemplate upon God’s love for each of us may we be able to create a desert space around us and take time to take a deep look at our life and discover anew the joy of believing in Jesus.

Last modified on Friday, 10 May 2013 10:05
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