GospelMK 1:12-15The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.
After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
I've picked out the Gospel reading for this first Sunday of Lent because I think it really puts across the themes we ought to think about during Lent.
This reading really struck me because we often think of Lent as a time where we give something up - a form of penance, but this reading shows us that penance, in any form, is not easy. Even Jesus was tempted, but he fasted and prayed. In the same way, when we are tempted to break our Lenten promises, we should remember this and also fast and pray.
Following Jesus' example, we fast because we want to bring out the true hunger and thirst for God, and also to discipline the desires of our hearts for worldly things - food, water, shelter, sex, material things to make our lives more comfortable. But, in actual fact, our deepest need is for God, and fasting helps us to realise that. People seek God, but so often in the wrong ways. They look for him outside when He is actually there within, in the depths of their hearts, waiting for them to speak to Him. That is why we must pray, to communicate with God, because any relationship needs communication, and without it, well, the relationship breaks down.
We should also give alms, because in the last judgement, we are challenged to feed the poor and help those less fortunate than ourselves.Jesus says, "Whatsoever you have done to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done to me". Think about how you can "do" something to help those who are not so well off in your community. Maybe start a lenten alms box. :)
Lenten Challenge: Pray about what you can "do" this Lent, and Fast to help the true hunger of God come into your life. Find a way to give back to your community, and give alms.