First Sunday of Lent
Lord, I offer you my corrections, asking that my errors be resolved and mistakes smoothed over.
Peter O’Sullivan SJ
Entering into Prayer
Feel free to choose an exercise from the beginning of the retreat or another way to enter your time of prayer.
Today's Scripture (Luke 4: 4-13)
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing. Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, ‘To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is written
“Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” ’
Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,
“He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you”, and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” ’
Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” ’ When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.
Food for Thought
Jesus enters the desert just before he begins his public ministry and shows his readiness for this service through his ability to know when he is being tempted. It is strange how the evil one tempts Jesus in this passage with a verse from the psalms, a verse which reassures us that God will protect us from harm and will not even let us stub our toes on rocks.The words quoted must have been all too familiar to Jesus but he knows not to trust them, not because they are untrue, but because of who is saying them at that moment. The psalm quoted in today’s Gospel reassures us that God will take care of us, even when we feel as though we are in a spiritual desert. However, trust in God does not lead to the quick results the bad spirit offers, it leads us through the desert, out the other side, and onward to service and ministry.
Suggestions for Prayer
In the Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius warns us to be careful of false consolation, when the bad spirit comes to us under the guise of the good spirit.That seems to be what is happening to Jesus in today’s Gospel.The word of God he hears is good, but the one who is speaking to him is not, and the consequences of following this voice would be fatal. It is all too tempting to follow our own interpretation of the scriptures, but we need to discern whether it is really the good spirit which is working through our understanding.The slow leisurely reading of scripture using the method of Lectio Divina can help us come to a deeper understanding of the transforming power of God’s word. By letting little nuggets of scripture sink ever deeper into our lives, we can begin to notice where the good spirit is working in our understanding, bringing peace, joy and growth.
How are you going to respond today?
Today, as you read or listen to the Word of God try and listen too to the thoughts and feelings which come to mind as you read. Are they being raised by the Good Spirit or the Bad Spirit?
Image for the Day
How does this image make you feel?
Are there times in your life when you have been tempted? What do you think Jesus would say to you about that?
Let God look at you with love. What are you doing for Lent this year? How is that working out? What’s going well? And less well? What do you need from God to help you?
Talk with God about your Lent. Be still in God’s gaze again.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. (Stephen Hoyland)