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  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, Feb. 17, 2013

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service


February 17, First Sunday of Lent

Cycle C. Readings:

1) Deuteronomy 26:4-10

Psalm 91:1-2, 10-15

2) Romans 10:8-13

Gospel: Luke 4:1-13

I recently spent some time at White Sands National Monument. It is a wonder to behold. I've been to the beach a number of times, so sand was not new to me, but to see so much sand -- and white -- in the middle of New Mexico was simply awe-inspiring.

At one point, I decided to take a walk in to the dunes to find a spot where I could no longer see any tourists or cars. I headed off in search of solitude. A while later, I made it to a place free of footprints and all sights and sounds of other people. I did a slow 360-degree turn and just took in the scenery. Again, it was breathtaking -- and a little unsettling.

Had I not checked my compass prior to heading off, I am sure I would have never found my way back to the car. Additionally, I became acutely aware of how few sips I had left in my water bottle, not to mention the fact that I had no food. The starkness of the topography was just as strong an image as the beauty that shrouded it.

Though this was only a half-day journey in a small desert environment, the reality of the power and solitude of the desert has stayed with me. In no way can I imagine spending 40 days there with no food or water and having only the devil as my companion. Yet, this is exactly the scene Scripture offers us as we begin our Lenten journey this year.

We may not experience as profound a fast as Jesus did in his desert time, but we are called into our own desert this Lent all the same. Maybe the starkness will come in the form of food or another beloved aspect of life offered up. Or maybe our journey will include offering more prayer or service to the poor. Whatever the case, we are all bound to face some temptation along the way.

When the devil comes calling, instead of relaxing and giving in, let's redouble our efforts, dig our feet in the sand and look past the starkness to the beauty of our desert. For we walk in the footsteps of one who conquered not only temptation but also the devil himself.

QUESTIONS:

What will you be giving up or doing extra for Lent this year? How do you plan to overcome the temptation to "cheat" on your obligation?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"Jesus ... was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil." -- Luke 4:1-2

END



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