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Fr Tom Lavin
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Sunday 18th Feb - First Sunday in Lent
Reflections taken with permission from Intercome Magazine
SEEING YOUR LIFE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS
1. Jesus he is about to start his public ministry. Mark tells us this was preceded by a deep inner struggle when his resolve to take on his God-given mission was tested. Recall important decisions in your own life. Were they accompanied by struggle and doubt? Who were the angels who supported you at that time? Give thanks for them.
2. Such periods of anxiety may seem like wilderness experiences at the time. Later, with hindsight, we may see them as being good for us. Perhaps, like Jesus, you recall a time when the Spirit of God led you into the wilderness to be tested and after the experience you had a clearer sense of your own identity or your purpose in life?
3. Repent and believe the good news was the heart of the message of Jesus. It was not a call to penance but to a change of heart, a change of attitude, leading to a change in behaviour. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of right relationships: with God, with one another, with creation, with ourselves. It is a change that leads to a fuller life. When have you found that a change in your attitude towards God, others, yourself, or the world around you, has led you to a more fulfilled or more fruitful life?
4. There is immediacy about the call of Jesus: ‘the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near’. Recall when you had a realisation that NOW was the moment of opportunity – for a change in your life, for a spiritual renewal, or a time to give a wholehearted yes to life. At this moment to what do you believe you are invited to say ‘yes’?
John Byrne osa
Between his baptism in the Jordan and the beginning of his preaching, Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness. Mark’s Gospel gives us a succinct account of the event: The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts and the angels looked after him.
As Lent begins we are perhaps unwilling to enter into it fully but if, driven by the Spirit, we do follow Jesus into the wilderness, we may find that we come to terms with temptation and discover a certain freedom. Temptation is essentially ab out taking the easy way out. It is always easier to follow our inclinations than to be faithful to our promises and our principles. Until, that is, we realize what is at stake. Taking the easy way out of every difficult situation does not bring peace. It is an expression of despair.
Fr James O’Kane,
Shortish Homilies for 2017/18 (Year B). Part 1: Advent to Pentecost
THE DEEP END: Operation Transformation
The first Sunday of Lent – I love Lent, it’s a great season where we can get in ‘transformation’ mode. Regardless of whether or not someone is still ‘practicing’ their faith, people still seem to get on board with Lent. We usually give something up, but remember it’s not simply about weight loss or getting fit. By doing these things we are trying to make room for something deeper. It’s a spring cleaning sort of time. What needs clearing out in my life so that I can make more room for God? Or often do we need to make more room for what God has planned for us? We can get stuck, especially when we are comfortable and don’t really want too much to change. But without change we can’t grow and things fast become stale in our lives. God is always urging us on because God knows just what possibilities there are for each of us. So Lent might be a time where in giving up something or taking on something, we make space for something new. The gospel today is short and sweet – Jesus is sent into the desert and we too are invited into a desert time. Deserts are interesting places which can allow us to reflect, give ourselves space and we should not be afraid because as the gospel tells us clearly today, it is a Spirit led desert. God is with us in this desert. So enjoy Lent, embrace it. How we make use of this time determines what will be.