The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. -Albert Einstein
“It is better to prevent crimes than to punish them.” — Cesare Beccaria
“Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the LORD.” So do we.
Today God sends Jonah on his mission to Nineveh, a place so big it took three days to get from one side to another. Jonah converts the whole place in a day. Can you imagine?? Sometimes the tasks God gives seem a little too big. But he take care of it — assuming we do our part
Can’t exactly improve on the Lord’s words in our Gospel today —
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
It’s funny — when I visit folks in the nursing homes who cannot remember their own names, let alone the names of the chlidren — they usually remember the Lord’s prayer. It becomes a part of us.
Today there are some pretty neat phrases in our first reading, reminders from the Lord God. 1) “Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.” 2) “Cherish no grudge”
Today we celebrate the first Sunday of Lent. We are in the desert. In our Gospel, we see Jesus is in a desert. There is not much noise there, and for that reason our Lent should be quieter, less noise — less time with the TV, phones, video games, etc. The desert is a place of silence. WE enter into that this Lent so as to hear the voice of God.
The desert is also a place of temptation. It is no more a place of temptation than anywhere else, I suppose, but one can feel the temptation more when in the desert … because there is so much less noise, so many fewer distractions. But Jesus goes into the desert and is tempted there.
We have temptations too, no? But look how Jesus fought against his temptations: HE FASTED!! From food and drink.
If we want to overcome temptations, fast from food! Jesus gave us this example in our Gospel today. Jesus was able to defeat his temptations because he fasted!
This is for us also. This is a good idea for us, not just for Lent but for the whole year. There is a beautiful fast that we Catholics often follow, that is a bread and water fast on Wednesday and Fridays. This is a good thing for the whole of Lent and the whole of the year, if possible!
Because folks! The devil will win if we don’t fast and pray! Remember how Jesus says that some demons are so powerful, some problems so big, some temptations so strong that they can be overcome ONLY by prayer and fasting?
Fast! When we fast from food, we can gain a lot of control. If we can control what goes into our bodies, we can control more important stuff too….and so never be trapped by the schemes of the devil that lead so many to addictions and so on.
Listen to the preface of Lent:
For you will that our self-denial should give you thanks,
humble our sinful pride,
contribute to the feeding of the poor,
and so help us to imitate you in your kindness.
Those are just some of the great fruits of fasting.
Let’s ask the Good Lord to help us in our fight against temptations. If we rely on his help, and follow his example of fasting….we’ll be just fine.