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Thursday, 03 March 2022 10:41

Temptation to Transfiguration

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit through the wilderness, being tempted there by the devil for forty days. During that time he ate nothing and at the end he was hungry. Then the devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.’ But Jesus replied, ‘Scripture says: Man does not live on bread alone.’

Then leading him to a height, the devil showed him in a moment of time all the kingdoms of the world and said to him, ‘I will give you all this power and the glory of these kingdoms, for it has been committed to me and I give it to anyone I choose. Worship me, then, and it shall all be yours.’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Scripture says: You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.’

Then he led him to Jerusalem and made him stand on the parapet of the Temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said to him, ‘throw yourself down from here, for Scripture says: He will put his angels in charge of you to guard you, and again: They will hold you up on their hands in case you hurt your foot against a stone.’ But Jesus answered him, ‘It has been said: You must not put the Lord your God to the test.’

Having exhausted all these ways of tempting him, the devil left him to return at the appointed time. (Luke 4:1-13)

 

Our great Lenten journey has begun. It’s a journey which begins in ash and ends in water. Fire is a profound part of our experience. We know its power to destroy, blacken and reduce to ash.

We know that evil can do the same - destroy our wholeness of spirit, blacken our lives and reduce the beauty of human life to so much dust.

We begin Lent in the ash of acknowledging our own part in harbouring, creating and doing evil - those places in our hearts where the fire of anger, bitterness, selfishness or narrowness of mind and heart has left nothing but cold ash.

The ash is a reminder that our true life is not found in mortal things which eventually turn to dust, but in eternal things. We also know that out of ash new life can bud, grow strong, bloom into fullness - that’s the Easter miracle.

As always, the Gospels of the first two Sundays in Lent provide a road map for our Lenten journey from temptation (this Sunday) to transfiguration (next Sunday).

We allow ourselves to be tempted out of the ash of selfishness and narrowness of heart and into a life of open-hearted goodness. We celebrate God’s graciousness to us by sharing what we have with those in need whether it be food, wealth, time, love, friendship or compassion. That’s what it means to ‘repent and believe the Good News’.

In these days when we are so conscious of the impact of human life on God’s creation, perhaps we could think about some permanent fasting from our excessive consumption of power, food and petrol in order to allow our earth to heal, to breathe and to continue to be a source of nourishment and life for the whole human family.

We remain deeply conscious of the people of the Ukraine and the Carmelites ministering there. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they begin Lent in the midst of fear, injury, destruction and death. We are also conscious of all those working to alleviate the suffering, to provide food, medical supplies, shelter and safety. May there be a resurrection of life, hope and peace for the people of Ukraine.

Read our reflection and prayers for this Sunday here.

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