In 2019, Alma and I had the privilege of flying across the desert via a famous Middle Eastern airline with plane-installed cameras that allowed us to view the ground below. As we were flying from Dubai on the way to Vienna, we saw the desert below: stretches of barren land with very few traces of vegetation and foliage. I can imagine how the elements bring it to movements and life every now and then. Thinking about it made me recall what Jesus went through before He engaged in His public ministry.
The Gospel (Mk. 1: 12-15) tells us during this First Sunday of Lent that the Spirit brought Jesus into the desert and remained there for forty days. Going there wasn’t forced on Him and it tells us His singular focus of total obedience to the will of God the Father. He was ministered by angels and the Heavenly Father must have seen it fit to be with Jesus as He was preparing for His ministry. The same is true with us in our “desert experiences”; we don’t have to go through it alone. When we invoke God’s help, surely, Heaven would be delighted and exuberant to “send angels to minister to our needs”. It is so consoling to know that as sons and daughters of God, we can “switch on” the power of Christ when we need it.
Like Jesus, we can also defeat the enemy for as long as we prepare ourselves spiritually. Surely though, we cannot defeat this vicious foe on our own. We need the protection and power of the Almighty God if we want to emerge victorious. These spiritual “battles” come to us through the temptations we face, our difficulties, and the bad habits that bruise us every now and then. These are challenges that will continue to haunt us if we insist on our own strengths and limited power. We cannot solve and cure these ills unless we turn on the power of God in us. Note that during this period Jesus went through all temptations imaginable just after He was baptized by John. The Lord is therefore telling us that as we go through our Lenten journey, we recall our promises at Baptism. We have to renounce evil and proclaim our faith in the Holy Trinity, the Holy Catholic Church, and its sacred teachings. Jesus is telling us the importance of repentance and faith that will enable us to avail of the mighty power of God,
“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
In my life experience, the times that I feel weak and down, I found out that the only way to overcome these and restore the power of God in me is when I prepare spiritually by going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is a way of giving honor and gratitude to God, whose Son Jesus came to save us,
“Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that He might lead you to God.” (Second Reading, 1 Pt 3: 18-22)
It is proven and it is not only effective in my personal life but also at work and in business relationships as well.
Reflect on the bad habits you have, and how you can resolve to eliminate these precursors of sin during this season of Lent.
Lord God, I bow before you. Help me fight my weaknesses as I prepare during this Season of Lent. Strengthen me, guide me and protect me and my family from all evil and dangers of the body and the soul. Amen.
“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4b)