And Now a Word From Our Sponser

Here it is the first Sunday of Lent and the Gospel reading was actually the same one I used yesterday about Jesus going into the desert and being tempted by Satan. The first reading of the day is from Genesis and is the story of Eve being tempted in the Garden of Eden. As I read this passage today I learned something new. This is usually the case every time I reread scripture and today was no different. As is often said, each time you read scripture something new is revealed to you.

The other thing I’ve come to realize with scripture is even though it was written over two thousand years ago, it is still relevant today. It relates to our world, maybe even more today then when they were written. Let’s look at Gen 3: 1- 8. This describes how the serpent tempted Eve. He made the forbidden fruit sound so good how could she resist? He convinced her that it would be okay if she ate from the tree, in fact it would make her a better person. It would give her things she didn’t have. The world would be hers. Does any of this sound familiar? Does this sound like the stuff we are bombarded with every day?

We are told how if we use this product, or go to this or that place, our lives will be so much better. Like Eve we will become a better person. But what about what will really make our lives better? What about what we really need to become a better person? Do we ever hear about God? No because every time we try to get the message out we are attacked. We are told there is no place for God in the public square, yet there is plenty of room for Satan and his traps. Satan is allowed to be everywhere with his temptations, but God is regulated to one hour a week stuck inside four walls.

The good news is Lent is a time for renewal It is a time for all of us to spread the word and renew the church. This is the time to get out there and live the Gospel. Lead by example. Live what you learn. Believe what you learn. Remember back in the late 80’s, early 90’s when the AIDS epidemic began? There was one of those public service commercials that went something like “When you date one person you also date the people they dated and the ones they dated and on and on…” The message was that it was an exponential thing. We need to look at spreading the good news in the same way. When we are an example to one person, they will be an example to another and then another. It will grow and grow.

It all starts with each of us who believe. Each of us needs to shut out the noise and listen to what God is telling us. Let him lead us in the right direction. He will teach us what we need to show others the way and how to bring others back to him. In other words, He will help us to renew His church.

Stop, Look and Listen

It’s Saturday, the fourth day of Lent and so far I have kept to my promise of writing 500 words each day. Now I am not saying they have been 500 quality words, but they have been words. Maybe today since I have more time I will be able to do better. Image result for stop look and listen sign

Why do we fast during Lent? Why do we abstain from certain things or do some kind of penance for forty days? These are some questions I have asked myself this week. I realized I never really knew exactly why we do these things. After all, as I may or may not have mentioned in the past, my “Catechism Classes” are just a very faint memory. That in itself tells you something since I am usually the one who remembers the most trivial things about my life. All I remember Is I didn’t like it and I didn’t want to be there. Now some fifty plus years later I wish I had listened and learned but then maybe that was all part of God’s plan for me.

It seems that fasting is a way for us to prepare for the death and resurrection of the Lord. Lent is a season to pray, fast, contemplate and do spiritual good. This is when, of all times of the year, we should be performing acts of charity and helping others. What better time than Lent to get into the habit of performing the seven spiritual works of mercy and the seven corporal works of mercy. Talk about doing spiritual good.

The significance of the forty days, although as I just learned is subject to some serious debate, is that before Jesus began his ministry he was dropped into the desert for forty days and nights without food and water and subjected to temptation from Satan. (Read Matthew Chapter 4) This is the explanation I tend to believe. I look at it this way, if Jesus could do it I can give up some of the comforts of my life and spend an hour each day writing a 500-word blog post.

What I find interesting in my own life is that as far as the praying, contemplating and even fasting goes I already do these things. They have become a habit. Could I spend more time? Absolutely. I know that since I began these doing these things regularly my life has turned around. As I wrote yesterday, once you learn how to shut out the noise and listen to what Jesus is telling you, you will see things differently and your life will change.

When I brought God back into my life, I began He began to watch over me even more than he did before. And I also believe that He began to reward me for my work if that is the right word since it really isn’t work. He has helped me to see so many things. To see things through different eyes, His eyes, not the eyes of the evil one. Again I’ll say take a look around you and you will see the influence of Satan everywhere. You need to differentiate what is God’s will and what isn’t. You need to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, and God is the final judge. He is the one you should be listening to.

Stop, Look and Listen