Fr Jim homily for 1 Sunday of Lent

Lent a time of seeking and being found:  of Close moments with God!

If someone were to ask you, “When is your favorite time of the year?” how would you respond? For some among us, the holiday season including Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year holds a special charm. It is a time of holy happenings when families and friends can celebrate God and one another, a cherished season that calls upon those who have to share generously with those who have less.

Sports enthusiasts may favor football or baseball season; or golf (snore!)  Many among us look forward all year to our week, or weeks, of vacation from work — a time for adventure, togetherness and recreation. Children and students of all ages eagerly await their spring break, and then the summer months off from school. Those who have been steadily at work for decades look forward to the day of their retirement, when their daily routines can be more flexible and relaxing.

I would dare say, Lent is not one of those time we look forward too…although to be fair, there are some in this room who say they love Lent!  I always say, I much more of a Feasting kind of guy than a Fasting kind of guy.

But like or not we are in the season of Lent…And Lent is a serious season, and rightly so;  But the Liturgy portrays Lent as a joyous season, ripe with fresh new beginnings and opportunities for seeking God and for being found by God.

  • Lent is a time for us to be conscious of “God moments” in our Lives.  In the Cursillo Spiritual movement we are encouraged to group once a week and in our meeting describe, ‘a close moment’ with God or when God reveals himself to us.
  • It is important for us to have conscious “God moments’ or “close moments’ to be strengthen for the mission and the journey…Why Mass?…to have a God moment and to be strengthen for the journey, the mission and yes the cross.

Each Lent offers us yet another chance to seek him and be found by him, regardless of who we are or what we might have done or what we have failed to do.

If today’s first reading had included a few more verses, we would be reminded that perfection is not a requisite for seeking or being sought by God. Indeed, according to the Genesis narrative, immediately after humankind had disobeyed, God came calling, “Where are you?” So also does God come calling after us, not only to assess our sins but to heal and forgive.

In today’s second reading, Paul leads us in celebrating the God who seeks after us so earnestly as to take on our human nature and become one of us in Jesus. Through Jesus, and by faith in him, sinners are justified and graced with salvation.

Today’s Gospel beautifully voices the fact that Jesus became one of us in all things except sin. In the passages just before going into the desert for 40 days and 40 night, at his own baptism in the Jordan, Jesus experiences a close moment, when he hears his father’s voice…you are my beloved and we experience a God moment when he says to us…LISTEN TO HIM.

Jesus takes the power of that close moment with him and he needs the strength of the God moment, when confronted with temptation,

As we know, Jesus did not wither; he approached his tempter with the power of God’s word and the strength of the Spirit.

This is our spiritual strategy he has left with us as we continue to seek and be found by God, especially during the weeks of Lent. Let us be open to God moments and be willing to find God in each day of Lent.

Of course we seek and find God in prayer, in the sacred scriptures, through the liturgy and sacraments and in the mysteries and wonders of the world around us.

During Lent, however, we are challenged to seek God in the silences that exist and in the daily meetings with God and others. And in those moment, experience the ever present Love of God, that makes us his beloved, worthy of our seeking and joyous of being found.

May Lent lead us through the desert to the glory of the resurrection and our eternal salvation.

This Homily was inspired by a commentary of Patricia Sanchez writer for Celebrations Publications

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