Living the Gospel – March 1, 2020

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First Sunday Of Lent
Shortly after Jesus’ Baptism, he was tempted in the desert. It seems like when we put our mind to following the Gospel message of loving everyone we too are frequently tempted. We don’t need to go to the desert or even leave our homes, community, workplace or regular routine to experience the temptations of selfishness. Our temptations are probably not on the same magnitude that Jesus encountered, but we face the same choice of choosing what is good or ‘less good’ or even evil.
At home, we might be so focused on our own schedule and commitments that we overlook the need to reach out and help those we live with. A helping hand with household chores, a smile as someone enters a room or a word of appreciation can go a long way in sustaining and deepening love.
In our local and world communities we directly encounter people or hear about, those who are in need. Do we fail to reach out because they are different from us, do we judge that they have made mistakes in planning for their needs and must solve their own problems or do we extend a helping hand directly, or indirectly through organizations, to relieve their suffering.
In our workplace or school do we contribute to the negative talk and atmosphere by repeating stories that although they may be true do not contribute to the overall good? Are we willing to praise others for their accomplishments and support the efforts of our peers or are we so set on ‘looking good’ and getting ahead that we speak and act in a critical way?
If we are to overcome the temptation to put ourselves first and look out only for our needs we must be grounded in the Gospel readings, ask for the grace to be aware of our surroundings and courageous enough to reach out in love. Jesus overcame the temptations in the desert through the knowledge of his identity, his purpose, and God’s plan for human salvation. Are we ready to spend this time of Lent immersing ourselves in prayer so that we too realize who we really are and what God’s purpose and plan is for our life?
Peg Orzel