Reflection for the First Sunday of Lent…February 29, 2023

by Connie Determan, Notre Dame Associate

1st Reading – Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7

4  But the serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die! No,

5  God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil.”

2nd Reading – Romans 5:12-19

18  In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so, through one righteous act, acquittal and life came to all.

Gospel – Matthew 4:1-11

1  At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

In the readings today, everyone is tempted from Jesus to Eve.  How easy is it for Satan to tempt us and distract us from growing closer to our Lord?  Why would we not expect to be tempted just as Jesus was?  How do we recognize the temptations in our lives and what are the temptations that keep us from having God’s peace in our lives?

Lent is a time for transformation. God is leading all of us into the desert just as He lead Jesus into the desert to allow for transformation.  What do you want transformed in your life so you may grow closer to our Lord? When are you going to spend quiet time with Him during Lent? When will you allow your life to be transformed?  We are all tempted so it is important to know what is in our hearts to hear God. When we are tempted we need to respond quickly and not let the temptation stay with us.

This past month, I have read two books that had examples of transformation:  1) Forgive Everyone Everything (by Gregory Boyle) and 2) Final Gifts (by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley).  The first book is about the Homeboy Industries that work with gang members as they rebuild their lives.  Transformation with these individuals is astounding and awe-inspiring. The stories talk about how individuals come to turn their lives around and away from temptations.  The one story that impacted me was when one former gang member stopped by and when asked if he needed something, he replied “I just came by to get my fix of love”. He had been transformed.

The book about Final Gifts is about the understanding and awareness of individuals are nearing death.  This book shares how the area of reconciliation at the end of life is important.  The stories in this book talk about individuals reaching out to family members they have not spoken with in years to finally reconcile and be transformed and be at peace.

Both of these books impacted me as stories of transformation were shared throughout.  These are great examples of God working in the lives of individuals and transforming them.  When we are tempted and are not intentionally following our Lord, we cannot be transformed.  But during this Lenten season, we can recognize the temptations in our lives and turn to God for transformation.

May we all spend time with Jesus this Lent for personal renewal and transformative growth.