So here we are: the 1st Sunday of Lent. And this will be our plan for today and the next 4 Sundays.
Several weeks ago, I began reading and reflecting and praying about the Gospel Readings for this season.
After letting things percolate for a few days - I went back and read the Gospels again - this time looking for just one word that I thought captured the meaning or lesson for each Sunday.
So part one of the Lenten plan is to present one word -- for each Sunday. One word for YOU to reflect and pray about for the week.
Part two of the plan was to look for a picture that gave an image of that one word -- an additional thing for you to reflect and pray about for the week -- just in case you are a visual person rather than an audible person.
So one word -- one picture for each Sunday of Lent. . .
So that's the plan. The process for every Sunday will be for me to tell you how I arrived at my word.
Then to show you the picture that captured the essence of that word for me. For like they say: a picture is worth a 1,000 words. . .
And then I will leave you with a couple of things to reflect upon for the coming week: all so that we can get through this season of change and conversion and growth – through its roadblocks, set –backs, hardships and distractions – because change is never easy --- all so that we can have new life as we celebrate the great feast of Easter.
Now my word -- may not be your word. So feel free – and in fact feel challenged – to read the Gospel before you come to Mass next Sunday – the Gospel as well as the other two reading are always listed on the front of the bulletin --- and see if you can come up with just one word that captures the meaning of the Gospel for you –
or try to guess what my word will be. . . See how many times, if any -- we can land on the same the word. . .
So -- the first Sunday of Lent - as always we go to the desert with Jesus.
The desert is a very quiet place. It's one of those places that are so quiet -- you can hear your own heartbeat and detect your own breathing.
And the desert can be a very lonely place -- there's nobody else there but you. And so you have to learn how to be comfortable with just being by yourself -- a hard thing for many people to do: being by oneself:
with no distractions, no noise, no sounds -- just the quiet-- and then //// then in that quiet - the voice of God can speak to you.
The psychologist Carl Jung said years ago: "noise, busyness, and the crowds in our life -- are not the work of the devil --- they ARE the devil --
And I add – they are the devil -- tempting us, just as the devil tempted Jesus -- to NOT pay attention to what God may be trying to tell us and call us to be.
Yes all of those things: noise, busyness, crowds -- that is always being with someone and never being alone -- keep us from nurturing the quiet we need in our lives -- and keep us from becoming comfortable with just being by ourselves –
with no distractions – all of which can keep us from listening to God.
So, I think to have a productive Lent -- one that can inflame us with new hope.
-one that can purify our hearts and minds.
-one that can dispel the darkness of our hearts -- and bring us new life in the light of Jesus Christ --
we have to deal with the noise, the busyness, the crowds in our lives -- so we can LISTEN to the voice of God speaking to us.
We can't have a productive Lent without going to the desert. And we can't have a productive Lent without creating moments of quiet in our lives so that we can LISTEN to where God wants to lead us.
And so the word of the week is LISTEN -- and here is the picture --
And here is what are offer you to reflect upon this week: What are you going to do this LENT - to enter into the desert -- so that you can listen to the voice of God. . .?
How are you going to control the noise --- lessen the busyness -- and avoid the crowds -- so that you can better listen to God – so you can discern where God wants to lead you and what God is calling you to do ???
Remember: noise, busyness, and the crowds in our life are not the work of the devil: they ARE the devil – the devil tempting us, just as Christ was tempted in the desert.
The devil is tempted us to pay attention to the world, or what we want – keeping us from listening to God: So how are you going to change that this Lent?
Moments in time...