The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
March 6th, 2022 – First Sunday of Lent - Luke 4:1-13
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.
We are now moving into a very special season of the year for Christians. It’s called Lent, an old word meaning “springtime.” In general, it is a season reminding us that the world of nature has a pattern which includes a time for life to be renewed. Or to start anew.
For Jesus this was a time of self-reflection that came right after his baptism by John. Jesus decided that the best setting for him to examine the direction of his own life would be to go by himself into the desert. He would set aside his usual activities and prepare himself for the challenges ahead. It was to be a time of honest assessment – something we all need from time to time.
I grew up thinking that Lent was a time of “giving up things” like candy (which I was addicted to). Or maybe limiting some bad habits that I had developed over the years – like not being nice to my younger sisters. Or maybe I needed to help more around the house. In general, though, I never looked forward to Lent.
But now I see its value for myself. It’s a great time to take stock of my life. I have lived long enough to know there’s always room for improvement. But I need to find time to honestly examine my life. The main holidays of the year are behind us. The New Year’s resolutions we made a few weeks back may have been forgotten. In a sense, it is a relatively quiet time of the year with few distractions.
We can all arrange for our own desert time of quiet. Maybe it would be helpful to make a list of not things to “give up,” but rather good things to add to our lives. Yearly, I visit my doctor for what’s called “a wellness exam.” There I learn the state of my body though scientific analysis of my blood and the knowledgeable assessment of my doctor. I always leave that exam with some strategies to improve my health.
Something similar can be done by ourselves during Lent. It can be a time for examining our spiritual wellness. Maybe we have slipped into some unhealthy bad habits. I will not even attempt to list some for you. That’s your job. And it’s a very good time to renew our lives through quiet prayer and meditation. That’s what Jesus did in his desert time. He must have thought a lot about his experience of learning of God’s love for him as he exited the River Jordan. We can do likewise by reminding ourselves of God’s love for us. Then we can deepen our love for all those around us. Especially those in our own families.
©David M. Thomas, PhD