Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

February 10, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17
Romans 5:12-19 or 5:12, 17-19
Matthew 4:1-11

A reflection on today's Scripture:

Even though Lent comes early this year, many of us are looking forward to these forty days as a time for personal renewal.

We've barely begun the new year of 2008, and already there are new reasons for insecurity and caution. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are like dead weights. Concerns that Pakistan is out of control, another crisis in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and worries at home about our choices for new leadership in the White House—all leave us numb and weary.

No wonder we welcome Lent. It's a time to renew the spirit and find new directions in our lives.

Lent is an attractive opportunity to strengthen our weak knees, toughen our weary hearts, and try all over again to bring order and discipline—with its resulting joy—into our lives. We come again to hear about the Garden of Delights we lost through the original sin of Adam and Eve. How good things would still be if those foolish parents of ours hadn't listened to that lying serpent! So much damage from one man and one woman! Still, from our own experience, we know how a single family member who has lost faith, or who lives in a drug or alcohol-induced fog, can wreak incredible damage on the rest of the family, whether it be adults or children.

The good news is that the damage of Adam and Eve was all repaired by one man, Jesus.

Lent is all about focusing on Jesus' formula for wholeness and happiness. It's all found in the Scriptures, in daily prayer, and Lenten practices.

Today's Gospel speaks of Jesus' desert experience as He is about to begin His Mission. It's a kind of relief for us to know that even the Son of God was tempted to give in to the human, and just forget the whole thing. We all know the feeling!

The work of our redemption would have been seriously damaged if Jesus had given in to temptations of the flesh, or possessions, or power. Instead, He focused on the Father's Will, the reason for His Mission, and His great love for those living in darkness.

Jesus combated Satan through humility, obedience, and a loving spirit. And He taught His followers down to the present day to do the same when temptations come.

Let's make the same decisions that Jesus made as we begin our Lenten journey. To put it differently, Lent is a time for us to share in the continual repair work of Jesus, our Redeemer. Let's dedicate the time to reparation for personal sins and the sins of our world.

Here are some suggested ways:

There may be a special group study of Scripture, Church history, Catholic social teaching, or some aspect of an article of faith available to you. Most parishes in our diocese have study groups called Why Catholic? and there are different Lenten guides for daily prayer during Lent.

Daily Mass during Lent, or as often as it's available in your parish, Stations of the Cross, either public or private, a daily rosary, and special family activities, are all fruitful sources of grace.

In whatever way you put together your Lent, it's a wonderful forty days of decision, growth, and toughening for the insecure world in which we live. As the title of our Holy Father's most recent encyclical suggests, we are all "saved by hope." The final page of history, written at the Last Judgment, will record the "undoing of all injustice," aided partially by the prayer and penance of all of us during this Lent which begins today.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
email: pwhitmore29(at)yahoo(dot)com

First Sunday of Lent

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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