BE VIGILANT!

Sunday 5th March – 1st Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 4: 1-11

BE VIGILANT!

There is no better time to be reminded of Jesus’ temptation than now, as we begin our own journey into the wilderness, taking after the footsteps of our Lord who spent 40 days and nights fasting and praying. Lent is a time for us to take a break from our routine and examine our relationship with our Heavenly Father. It is a time to turn away from the sinful patterns that weigh us down and grow deeper in our faith.

As we reflect upon the subject of sin and seek repentance, it becomes even more important for us to consider the subject of temptation if we are truly to break the sinful patterns that hold us bondage. All sin starts with temptation, yet not all temptation results in sin. Adam and Eve in our first reading were tempted and yielded to the devil but our Lord Jesus was also tempted but did not yield. What made the difference between them?

Our Lord was conscious of the enemy’s deception and recognized it quickly. To truly overcome sin, we must be vigilant – we must be sensitive to the ways in which the enemy comes to us with his deceptive tactics. The more conscious we are, the more likely we are to recognize the temptations as they come and resist them. In addition, our Lord resisted the enemy with the word of God. God’s word is the sword of the spirit; our singular weapon of offense in our spiritual battle (Eph 6:17). We can successfully fight the enemy when we soak our ourselves in the truth of God’s word and make it our rule of life.

As we begin the first week of Lent, be vigilant. Watch out for the enemy’s tactics of discouragement, sloth and temptation and resist him. Only then would we cooperate with God’s grace to grow in holiness this season.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, sharpen my spiritual senses that I may be able to recognize and resist the temptations of the enemy. Please strengthen me in the battle against sin. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 88 – Why was Jesus led into temptation? Could he really be tempted at all?

Jesus was truly human, and as part of that he was truly susceptible to temptation. In Jesus Christ, we do not have the sort of redeemer “who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning” (Heb 4:15).

Hide a Treasure: “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Psalm 51: 3-6, 12-17; Rom 5:12-19; Mt 4:1-11

TAKE UP YOUR SWORD

Sunday 14th February – 1st Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Luke 4:1-13

TAKE UP YOUR SWORD

Of the six weapons outlined as components of the armor of God (Ephesians 6: 10-18), only one stands out as a weapon of offense. While the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, shield of faith and shoes being the readiness to proclaim the gospel of peace serve as weapons of defense with which we protect ourselves from the devils fiery darts, the sword of the Spirit stands out as the only weapon with which we can launch back our attack on our enemy, the devil (Ephesians 6: 14-16). There are no spears, arrows or rifles on the list.

We are in a constant combat with the enemy. Our sword is the word of God. The living and active word that has the power to convict, heal, transform, teach and strengthen us is also able to destroy the tactics of the devil. In today’s reading, our Lord gives us an example of how to overcome our temptations by countering the deception of the devil with the word of God. Adam and Eve sinned because they allowed the serpent to deceive them, by making God out to be a liar and His word invalid and so they fell from the life of grace (Genesis 3: 4-5).

Dear friends, as we journey through this season of grace, let us take out time to study God’s Word and ask for the grace to be obedient to it. Only when God’s Word dwells in us can we recognize the tactics the enemy uses and destroy them with our sword. Indeed, you and I who have been baptized into Christ have been made righteous through His obedience. Let us hold on to Him and His word in faith so that we can triumph over our flesh, the world and the devil especially this season of Lent.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please help me to find strength in your word each day so that I may resist the devil and live above sin always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 475 – How did Jesus pray?

Jesus’ life was one single prayer. At decisive moments (his temptation in the desert, his selection of the apostles, his death on the Cross) his prayer was especially intense. Often he withdrew into solitude to pray, especially at night. Being one with the Father in the Holy Spirit—that was the guiding principle of his earthly life.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I have laid up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” Psalm 119: 11 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 26: 4-10; Psalm 91: 1-2, 10-15; Romans 10: 8-13; Luke 4: 1-13

WORDS WE CAN TRUST

Friday 27th November – Friday of week 34 of the year

Reflection: Luke 21: 34-36

WORDS WE CAN TRUST

Over the last few days, Jesus has been explaining to his disciples about the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem, the city which had refused to recognise the day of its visitation. The destruction of Jerusalem which historically prefigured the end of the world was to put an end to the Old Covenant and establish Christ’s new and everlasting covenant. Hence, Christ told his disciples that in the midst of the unprecedented sufferings they were to “look up and raise their heads because their redemption is drawing near.” (Lk 21:28).

As Jesus, continues this discourse in today’s gospel reading, he leaves us words of reassurance; words we can hold on to tightly as we run our Christian race; words from which we can find strength and succour amidst life’s difficulties: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Lk 21:33). What better assurance can we get as we read through Scriptures?

God has many promises reserved for His children. He promises to hear us each time we call on him and to protect us in the day of trouble. He assures us that He has good plans for our lives and asks us to trust him completely. Jesus assures us of eternal life as we partake in the Eucharist – His very Body and Blood. Realising the impact of God’s word in our salvation, we would be immensely grateful for Jesus words: “…my words will not pass away.” Let us hold tightly to God’s words because they are words we can trust; words we can hang our lives on.

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for the wonderful promises you have for me. Please help me to trust completely in your words always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 16 – What is the right way to read the Bible?

The right way to read Sacred Scripture is to read it prayerfully, in other words, with the help of the Holy Spirit, under whose influence it came into being. It is God’s word and contains God’s essential communication to us.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Lk 21:33 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Dan 7: 2-14; Dan 3: 75-81 (canticle); Lk 21: 29-33