GROW+GO ~ First Sunday of Lent
|February 21, 2021 | First Sunday of Lent
Gn 9:8-15 | 1 Pt 3:18-22 | Mk 1:12-15
GROW - AS A DISCIPLE | PRAY, STUDY, ENGAGE, SERVE
Even amid the forced slowdown of a pandemic, distractions abound: Netflix bingeing, online shopping, even positive pursuits like home organizing and personal fitness. I confess I indulge in all of these (except for home organizing). Lent challenges me to let go of the unnecessary distractions and dare to make friends with solitude, which can be a daunting proposition because it means keeping company with my own thoughts. Jesus, our human and divine Savior, faced the desert and was tempted by Satan. But he also emerged from the desert, and announced himself and the Gospel to the people of Galilee. He goes on to accept his death on a cross for the sake of our salvation, the fulfillment of the covenant between God and his people. As we enter Lent, as we enter our desert, we pray for the fortitude to forego temptation, opening our hearts to God’s will for us, and ready to proclaim it to the world.
GO - EVANGELIZE | PRAYER, INVITATION, WITNESS, ACCOMPANIMENT
What are you doing for Lent this year? I ask our kids that every Ash Wednesday around the dinner table, and one or more of us often scramble for a plan. “Umm … candy! I’ll give up candy except Snickers.” “No Netflix!” Or we take the “do good” route: “I’ll pray more.” “I’ll help with chores.” “I’ll volunteer or donate to charity.” All good things. Whatever “the plan,” however, today’s Gospel challenges me to be quiet and listen. While a plan gives us accountability and can lead to growth, sometimes less truly can be more. This year, I’d like to spend less time planning and more time listening for God’s voice in the silence, which I find personally challenging. For others, the desert may look quite different. However we decide to approach Lent, let us pray that these 40 days bring us closer to God and our lives more in line with his will for us.
“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” The verse before today’s Gospel caught my attention. What can I pare away from my daily life to make room for the word of God? For those of us whose minds tend to wander when praying silently, perhaps listening to the daily readings can be a good way to start or end the day.