LENT*-- hmmm. Ever wondered why we are asked to fast, give alms and pray?
Here’s why. Not only does Jesus mention these three as something we should do in Matthew 6, when He states: “When you give alms...when you pray...when you fast…” but something even more fascinating is taking place in the Gospels.
When we read the Gospels we can look for instances of Recapitulation--this is looking for instances that show that what Jesus is doing is an act of summarizing, restating and/or fulfilling lessons from the Old Testament. Jesus is the new Adam and the new Israel. We are to look for how He “re-enacts” and makes new all that has already taken place.
In Matthew 4, after Jesus is baptized, He is driven into the desert for 40 days (the number 40 is a clue!) just as Israel was in the desert for 40 years. We see that He will face the same type of temptations that not only the children of Israel faced but that Adam and Eve faced as well, only He will “Recapitulate” them--and pass the tests.
These temptations are in fact the same ones we all face in various forms and they fall into three categories:
Sensuality--(lust of the flesh) “...command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
Vanity--(lust of the eyes) “Throw yourself down.” (aka-make a spectacle of yourself that all will see and know that you are God!)
Pride--(Pride of life) “All these I will give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
The questions the temptor brought to Christ were those questioning God’s Goodness. By passing the tests, we see Christ revealing His trust in the heart of the Good Father.
The same questions are for us today:
Do we see God as “Provider” or “Preventor”?
Do we see ourselves as His beloved sons and daughters or are we looking for approval from lesser things--from others?
Do we see Him as the Loving, Good Father who alone is worthy of our worship or do we worship “all these”-- ourselves and all we have aquired?
Lent is a time when we as the Church can participate in RECAPITULATION. We can choose to re-enact and be like Christ in our choosing God over the temptations of sensuality, vanity and pride.
Might I suggest that:
if you struggle in the area of sensuality, you lean more into FASTING this Lent?
(Yep-- deny your flesh.)
If you struggle in the area of vanity, you lean more into ALMS GIVING this Lent?
(Yep--deny buying to build up self and look outward to the needs of others.)
If you struggle in the area of pride, you lean more into PRAYER this Lent?
(Yep--give more glory to God and rely less on self.)
Lean more deeply into Lent by leaning more deeply into the offerings and opportunities to combat our "pet sins" given to us by the grace and mercy of God.
“‘Get away, Satan! It is written: “The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.” Matthew 4:10-11
Help. I am sinner. I struggle. Please give me your grace to be able to lean into Lent and become more like You. And if ever you want to send an angel or two... :)
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
*Want to do something to encourage others and yourself to lean more deeply into the faith this Lent? Try starting a small group community by inviting a few friends over, making a pot of coffee or soup and be the FIRST TO WATCH THE SOURCE.
We are so excited to announce this cool new program Something Greater Ministries teamed up with the Archdiocese of Washington to produce! (Part of Team SOURCE is pictured above :)
THE SOURCE is 6 Ted-style talks on the amazing benefits of the Catholic faith given by some of the Archdiocese of Washington’s top priests along with 6 “street cred” testimonials backing up what the speaker stated with actualized stories from someone’s everyday life.
Each week a new video and testimony will be posted. You won't want to miss it!
Lean into THE SOURCE and lean more deeply into your faith this LENT!
Watch THE SOURCE and then discuss:
Week one--Fr. Bill Byrne
LIFE: is this all there is? (Thesis: Nothing but God will bring fulfillment--He is the SOURCE of ABUNDANT LIFE)
1. What one thought stood out or most impressed you as you watched this video? Discuss.
2. Fr. Bill describes sin as our “Wanting to be like God”. What are your thoughts on this? What one solution did God propose to repair our sinful tendencies—to bridge the gap between God and ourselves? How does this truth make you feel?
3. Fr. Bill also talked about gifts Jesus give us through Baptism:
a. Membership into His family
b. His indwelling
c. Some guiding principles to live by
Which of these gifts most resonates with you? Why?
4. Would you say you are living the “Abundant Life?” Why or why not?
5. If what Fr. Bill said is true, that Jesus is the Source of ABUNDANT LIFE, how would getting to know Him better affect your daily life?