Oh my, goodness, it is Lent already!? Wasn’t Christmas yesterday? A lot is going on: please remember to fill out the Disciple Maker Index and to register for The 99 Experience, which will take place later in Lent. There is a lot of important information in The Invitation, which you will receive this week. Please read it.
As always, our Gospel for this first Sunday of Lent presents the temptations of Christ, this time Matthew’s version. I have always thought of my weaknesses making me the most vulnerable to temptations. For example, if I like food, I am vulnerable to the temptation to overeat. Or if I am lazy, I am vulnerable to the temptation to stay in bed on Sunday morning, instead of going to Mass.
I read an article that pointed out that, while that might be true, the real danger lies in our strengths. The devil knew Jesus had the power to do the things he proposed; he was targeting a strength of Jesus. Temptations involving our strengths may involve more overarching and devastating results: they may encompass a way of life, rather than just one failure like overeating at an evening meal.
For example, if I am industrious and energetic, that gift can tempt me to amass excessive wealth. If I am gifted with organization and people skills, the temptation might be to power. If I am intelligent and bright, it might be to arrogance, etc. Looking at our strengths might help us uncover underlying urges that keep us from being the best “light to the world,” as Jesus has asked us to be.
An antidote is true humility, which calls us to recognize our gifts in an honest way, but remembering that these gifts come from God; we did nothing to earn them. Hopefully, this realization will help us use our gifts in ways that benefit others and not just ourselves, This Tuesday evening, March 3rd, we will spend an hour on this topic of humility. I invite you to join us in the church at 7:00 pm for a presentation I will give, followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and some quiet time with the Lord. It is a wonderful way to prayerfully enter into Lent. Please take advantage of this opportunity.