Never Give Up
There is a story of a woman who had a bad habit of shopping, which put her in a bad financial situation. She went to her pastor to ask for advice. The pastor listened to her and said that her bad habit was caused by temptations from the devil and she should confront it with prayer and words from the Bible like Jesus said: “Get behind me Satan.”
The woman was grateful for the advice, however when she came back to see the pastor, she told him how she fell into temptations and bought an expensive dress. The Pastor is somewhat annoyed but still reminds her if she had followed his advice saying “Didn’t you tell the Devil to get behind you as I said?” She with a low voice replies: “I did, Father, but when he went behind me, he whispered in my ear, ‘this dress looks just as beautiful from the back as it did from the front’, next thing I know, I bought it.”
We began the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday, only three days ago and yet how many of us already fell into temptation and have broken our Lenten promises? In the new translation of the Lord’s Prayer, we pray “do not let us fall into temptation.” The term “Lent” is taken from the old English word which means “spring season” so we are called to “Rise,” to “Spring” to come back to God during the Lenten Season.
Sign of Covenant:
Today’s first reading portrays a beautiful sign of Covenant between God, human beings and every living creature. The signs of the Ark during the flood and the rainbow after the flood are a new sign of covenant. They are visible to all when the sunlight strikes the falling raindrops. Perhaps we have seen and admired this sign in nature, like a dance of light and water happening in a natural way. Through this sign of hope, an everlasting promise, God made a universal declaration of salvation for the whole of creation. God will never give up on us, God always sends an ark to rescue us. God sends many natural signs of blessings to provide for us and to protect us.
How is your personal relationship with God? What is your personal sign of covenant with God?
Do we believe in God’s covenant of love? Do we pray to God to help us “to teach us to walk in God’s ways, lead us in truth, become humble and to live in faithfulness and love?”
All the biblical covenants are an invitation from God to begin a journey of spiritual conversion. Most of the prophetic messages are based on this call to spiritual conversion. Many of the Lenten readings help us reflect upon spiritual conversion as in the words of the Prophet Hosea beautifully expressed as “Come back to me with all your heart...” The message of Jesus in the Gospel is clear “The time is fulfilled and kingdom of God has come near, Repent and believe in the Good News.”
As Pope Francis says “Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our spiritual lethargy.” The Church gives us this holy season of Lent as a time for conversion of body, mind and spirit by changing the old ways of life and by believing in the Good news of God.
During this Lent, can we journey on the path of spiritual conversion so we can find meaning and fulfillment in Jesus Christ?
Salvation in Christ
As Noah received the sign of covenant on behalf of the whole of creation, Jesus Christ is the sign of God’s eternal covenant for us. The gospel of Mark narrates that after Jesus was baptized, he was led into the wilderness and was tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts, and waited on by the angels. Jesus faced struggles at all levels. The letter to the Hebrews gives testimony that Jesus was “one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” This gospel narration shows the humanity of Jesus by going through these 40 days of struggles in the wilderness. Jesus shows us that we too can overcome temptations that we face in everyday life. Jesus proclaims that Good News of God, who never gives up on us – a God who invites us to enter into the kingdom of God where there is mercy, love and peace. The Letter of Peter perfectly points out that “Christ suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God.”
We began this journey of spiritual conversion in our Baptism, to be part of God’s covenant of love and share in the joy and peace in heaven. As Noah’s ark became the hope that saved creation, Jesus Christ is the hope for our salvation for everyone for all eternity. So, let us listen to the message of Jesus and follow in his footsteps to find fulfillment in our life.
Lord Jesus, thank you for proclaiming the message of the Good news of God. Help us to repent and believe in God’s love that you won for us by your life, death and resurrection so we can rejoice with you in heaven. Amen
Reflections by Rev. Wilson Andrade, CSC