From the Desk
of Fr. Tony...
Fr. Tony Stubeda
Father Tony Stubeda
Covenants, Promises and Temptation
This year my Lenten resolutions are not surprising and are very similar to the ones I make every year. I hope to fast all during this season with nothing to eat between meals and one meal a day. I am planning to abstain from meat two days a week. I am trying to impose some discipline on my television habits by not watching after 8:00 p.m. on work nights, and I am trying to renew my prayer life by rising a half an hour earlier in the morning to have some quiet prayer time before the tasks of the day begin. I started my journey to Easter with these resolutions in mind in the hope of being renewed by the Lord and his mercy. When I came back from my morning Mass, there was a package of four premium truffles sitting next to my charging cell phone. They were a Valentine’s Day gift from a thoughtful staff member. I picked up the package, looked at it and almost opened it before I said to myself, “Put the package down, It’s Lent.” And thus my Lenten journey began with some good intentions and a first temptation.
Our readings today focus on God’s promises and temptation. In the first reading we are reminded that God has promised to always remember his promise to hold our lives dear. The rainbow is a sign of a covenant that reminds both God himself and us, his people, of the covenant of life-giving blessings. St. Paul points out the fact that this promise, born of the destruction and renewal of creation in the great flood, is a foreshadowing of God’s recreation of each follower of Christ in Baptism. In the waters of Baptism we die and rise with Christ. We are reborn as children of God and disciples of Christ.
Mark’s description of the temptation of Jesus is the shortest in the Gospels. He simply reports that Jesus was driven by the Spirit into the desert, fasted for forty days, was exposed to the danger of living among wild beasts, and was ministered to by angels. Jesus conquers temptation and emerges from the desert proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom of God. He calls people to believe this good news and to prepare themselves to enter the kingdom through repentance.
I encourage all of you to find some way to pray, fast and give alms this Lenten season as a way of renewing the life-giving covenant of your Baptism. These Lenten disciplines are a call to re-discover the goodness of God and our dignity as children of God reborn through the death and resurrection of the Lord. There will be temptations along the way. Just say to yourself, “Put the package down, it’s Lent.”