1st Sunday in Lent (March 13, 2011)

Sunday’s Gospel is the story of Jesus’ three temptations. Right before this chapter, Jesus is baptized in the Jordan, and hears a voice from the clouds calling Jesus “My beloved Son.” In the Rite of Baptism, these words are repeated after the presenting of the lighted candle and before the Our Father: Dearly beloved, this child has been reborn in baptism. He (she) is now called the child of God, for so indeed he (she) is.

The problem with Adam and Eve was that they did not believe they were God’s beloved. So in their search for something more, they succumbed to the devil’s temptations and discovered evil; they discovered their nakedness. And ever since then, we have been ashamed of our human weakness and constantly try to cover it up with addictions, rationalizations, scrupulosity, denial, blaming others, etc. It’s so hard for us to see our goodness. Even if we do, we quickly snuff out those sightings, for fear that it would be pride or lack of humility.

To put this another way that might be more understandable: Let’s say you do 100 good things today, or 100 good things happen to you. But on the other hand, you do one bad thing, or one bad thing happens to you. What are you going to focus on? Yep….the bad. Completely forgotten will be your goodness or your blessings. That’s how the knowledge of evil affects you, and also affects your relationships. This is exactly what Satan wants. The devil does NOT want you to focus on your goodness, on the fact that you are the son or daughter of the Most High, on all the blessings that come your way.

So maybe for Lent, how about trying to see yourself as God sees you: as a beloved son or daughter. See yourself as a strong person who occasionally fails, instead of a weakling who occasionally does something good. Take to heart what the Prodigal Father said to the elder son “All that I have is yours.” And truly, all that God has IS ours! God holds nothing back. The problem is me: for whatever reason, I won’t or can’t accept what God wants to give me.

Every single day God our Father gives you some kind of affirmation, through people or events or nature or from the Scripture of the day or from deep within yourself. Look for it….accept it…cherish it…for you truly ARE God’s beloved.

Be God’s smile for someone today!

Herb Yost, CSC

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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