Gospel Reflections

1st Sunday of Lent

Matthew 4:1-11

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Edithann Kane

Published: March 01, 2020

Here it is – March 1st – the First Sunday of Lent!  

We think about the usual practices of Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. St. Julie was ahead of the times when she encouraged the Sisters who were heavily engaged in school and care of the children not to fast. She wrote to them: “There is another kind of fasting we are strictly bound and obliged to keep.  It is the fast of the heart, the senses, and the tongue.”  
In the gospel for this First Sunday, we hear that, having been led into the desert Jesus “…fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry.” (Matt 4:2). He was hungry, not for bread but for the Word of God.  He would not be tempted to perform a miracle for himself. The beatitude – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice” comes to mind. I wonder: for what do I/we hunger? From what do we need to fast?

Jesus was tempted to test the Word of God, to throw himself off the top of the temple and let the angels of God support him.  “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” I wonder: for what do I/we ask from God while neglecting to do our part?

Finally, he is shown all the kingdoms of the world which will be his if he only heeds Satan’s words: “…prostrate yourself and worship me.” What are my/our “kingdoms” – the places where we want to be in control, have the final word, determine the rules?

I’m reminded of some simple words about fasting that seem to mirror Julie’s words. (source unknown)

Lent is a time to Fast and to Feast
    Fast from judging others, Feast on the Christ within them.
    Fast from emphasis on differences.  Feast on the unity of all life.
    Fast from words that pollute, Feast on phrases that purify.
    Fast from discontent.  Feast on gratitude.
    Fast from anger. Feast on patience.
    Fast from pessimism.  Feast on optimism.
    Fast from worry. Feast on Divine Order
    Fast from lethargy.  Feast on enthusiasm.

And from Julie we hear: “The holiest fast I ask is charity, the practice of charity towards one another.”

Let’s pray for one another this Lent, that we may each recognize where we need to fast and to feast, and have the grace to persevere in that fasting and feasting, perhaps for the rest of our lives.

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