A Journey Towards Victory and Salvation
Rdgs: (1st: Deut 26, 4-10; Ps: 90; 2nd: Rom 10, 8-13; Gos: Lk 4, 1-13)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On Ash Wednesday we began our journey with Christ. As a journey that will last for about six and half weeks, the Lenten season presents to us the opportunity of re-living the Paschal mystery of Christ. It exposes us to other dimensions of life, and thus, equips us for the glory of Easter.
This first Sunday of Lent, starts on a hopeful and joyful note. The readings bring in view concepts like faith, salvation and victory over sin. These remind us of the need to praise God for the great wonders he worked for our fathers in faith. Through our participation this Lent God is ready to extend the same wonders to us.
The first reading begins with a very brief account from Moses about how God delivered His chosen people Israel from bondage in the land of Egypt. Therefore, this reminds us of our own salvific journey. This Lenten season, we are on a journey to our salvation, and the hope of this salvation must sustain us throughout this season and beyond.
The second reading presents another dimension to this journey towards salvation. It presents faith as a necessary tool which must be manifested through our confessions. Without faith, it will be practically impossible to reach our destination. Faith in this case is the energy that motivates us as we march on. If along this journey this season, we become weary, turning to Jesus is the best option available to us. If we call upon Him in faith, we shall find the strength to continue. We cannot prevail in this journey by our own strength alone.
This season therefore, we are to be mindful of the fact that temptations abound, just as our Lord was tempted today by the devil in our gospel. It is important to note that the tempter is always looking for a point of contact or weakness. This was why, once he realized that Christ was very hungry he felt it was an opportunity to use Him. However, the good news is that the devil was wrong, because Christ did not give him the chance to use Him. Hence, the devil cannot succeed with us too if we do not open avenues for him in our lives.
We must not give the devil any chance this season and in our entire life time. Therefore, let us close all the avenues in the course of this journey by wearing the sign: “Road Closed or No Vacancy Here!” The avenues that must be closely guarded this season as the temptation of Christ teaches us include: The avenues of hunger and thirst for sin, the avenue of cheap popularity, vain glory, pride, and selfishness. These are obstacles to our spiritual growth, victory, and of course, to our salvation.
As Paul writes: “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty through God for pulling down Strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4). Our weapons this season must include a very strong faith in God, prayer, uprightness, good works, and the word of God. This is because: “We do not fight” (this season only), against flesh and blood. But, against…powers of this dark age…the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm” (Eph 6, 10-12). Above all, we must allow the Holy Spirit to be in charge by being docile to Him.
Finally, trusting in the arm of our own flesh will not help us this season. This is because, it might fail us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, this season, God is absolutely ready to do for us what He did for our fathers in faith in ancient times. So, together with the psalmist today, let us unceasingly implore the Lord saying: “Be with me, O Lord in my distress.”
Peace be with you!