Homily for First Sunday of Lent, Year C

A Journey towards Our Victory and Salvation

Readings: 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 with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.    

On Ash Wednesday we began our journey with Christ. The Lenten season presents us the opportunity of relive the Paschal mystery of Christ. It exposes us to other dimensions of life. Thus, it equips us for the glory of Easter.

Today’s readings highlight faith, salvation, and victory over temptations and sin. These remind us of the need to praise God for the wonders he worked for our fathers in faith. Through our active participation this Lent, God is ready to extend the same wonders to us.

The first reading begins with an account from Moses of how God delivered Israel from bondage in the land of Egypt. Hence, it reminds us of our own salvific journey. This Lenten season, we are on a journey to our salvation. Hence, 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. In this case, Faith is the energy that motivates us as we march on.

If we become weary along this journey this season, turning to Jesus is the best option available to us. If we call upon Him in faith, we shall find the strength to continue. So, we cannot prevail in this journey by our own strength alone.

In today’s gospel, Christ was tempted by Satan.  So, it is important to note that the devil is always looking for an opportunity to tempt us. Hence, once he realized that Christ was very hungry, he felt it was an opportunity to tempt Him. However, the good news is that the devil was wrong. Christ did not fall to his tricks.

The devil cannot overcome us, if we do not open avenues for him in our lives. So, Peter warns us: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pt 5:8).

We must never give the devil any chance in our life, because, he will take it completely to do us the maximum harm he could (Eph 4: 27). Therefore, we must close all the avenues in the course of this journey by wearing the sign: “Road Closed or No Vacancy Here!” So, we must close the avenue of sin, cheap popularity, vain glory, pride, greed and selfishness. These are obstacles to our spiritual growth and 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, good works, and the word of God. Above all, we must allow the Holy Spirit to be in charge. That is, by being docile to Him.

Finally, trusting only in our efforts will not be enough to help us this season. This alone might fail us. However, through our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, God is absolutely ready to do for us what He did for our fathers in faith. So, with the psalmist let us constantly pray this season: “Be with me, O Lord in my distress.”

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!

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