Welcome to the Season of Lent

03-06-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Welcome to the season of Lent. Lent is the time that falls between Ash Wednesday and Holy Week, the season when we do spiritual warfare to our inordinate and sinful desires as a means to prepare ourselves to commemorate well the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we battle against the lure of sin aiming to defeat decisively, by the grace of God, the power of evil in our lives and in doing so, deepen our relationship with Christ.

The first reading describes the prescribed formula for presenting the first fruits to the Lord by the Israelites in the Promised Land. Each grateful Israelite was required to reaffirm his inclusion in the old covenant, recall the redemption of his ancestors from slavery in Egypt by Yahweh, and express gratitude for the gift of the Holy Land and the covenant he inherited from his ancestors. Like the Jewish adherents of the old dispensation, we, beneficiaries of the new covenant, recall and express gratitude during this season of grace for our journey from the slavery of sin to the joy of salvation purchased for us by the redemptive work of Christ.

As we enter into the “desert” of Lent, the church presents, for our reflection, the account of Jesus doing spiritual combat with the devil in the wilderness. The devil threw at Him the “threefold concupiscence,” that is, the most common three ways in which we experience temptation to sin, namely: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Lust of the flesh is physical lust for food, sex, drugs, comfort and so on. Lust of the eyes is greed or avarice, the desire to own and possess things of beauty and value. Pride of life is sinful pride and the temptation to achieve self-sufficiency that has no place for God. Jesus conquered disobedience by rejecting the lure to satisfy the body, ignoring the false promise of earthly power and influence, and renouncing decisively the crave for fame, vain adulation and popularity through sensationalism.

The temptations of Jesus reveal a lot to us. We know from Jesus’ temptation the skillful attempt by the devil to lure anyone to disobedience of God; the evil one does not respect your status in faith. We also know that temptation is almost always a subtle suggestion for us to relegate good and embrace evil. It is however, never a compulsion. Temptation is a clever suggestion to the tempted, to which one has to apply an active act of the will thereby making him responsible for his response. We know too that triumph over temptation is feasible if we, like Christ, are aided by grace to timely confront it with decisive rebuke, build our faith on the promptings of Sacred Scripture and have God as our highest and uncompromisable good.

Let us pray that our faithful observance of Lenten practices would afford us the grace to do spiritual violence to all structures of sin so that, like Christ, we may decisively overcome the devil in our lives.

Please be kind and may God bless you.