Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On this first Sunday of Lent, we are invited to travel with Jesus to the desert. We hear from the Gospel that before Jesus begins His ministry, He is led by the Spirit to the desert for forty days. It is not by chance that He went to the desert for that amount of time. These elements recall the Exodus of the people of Israel who spent forty years in the desert before entering the promised land. The Jewish Tra- dition says that God brought the people there in preparation to enter the land He had promised to their forefathers. It was necessary for them to realize that it was God who provided everything they needed and wanted. In the desert, they saw God providing for them water, mana, quails. It was a teachable moment so they could understand that God always provides. Even they had to fight the seven nations or conquer the city of Jericho, to enter in Israel, after those 40 years. They were convinced that God would lead them by the hand. Therefore, the number forty and the location of the desert in the Bible al- ways means a time of preparation, formation. The same applies for Jesus. He is led by the Spirit to teach us to rely only on God.
These forty days of Lent that we have in front of us is also a time of preparation for us. Instead of being a preparation to enter the promised land, we are called to be prepared to enter Heaven. This is a spe- cial time to refocus our lives in God. We are called to reawaken our faith. Maybe our focus lately was only to get by this time of Covid, or to endure these winter days before spring, but we forget that we are called to something much greater, namely, to Eternal Life! We have an open invitation from God to go to His house! The Lenten practices are ways to help us realize that we can spend some time without earthy pleasures without problem. We have the opportunity to experience God’s providence in different ways.
Don’t be afraid, brothers and sisters, to be bold in your faith! Don’t settle for anything less than para- dise/heaven! Do not aim lower than being holy! Christ wants to transform us, to experience his transfig- uration, to resemble him. It’s a great time! What an opportunity we have in front of us! So, let’s be joyful that God allows us this time to get closer to him, to love him more, to be convinced that He alone is enough!
God bless, Fr Steven
Father Steven Clemence