The Gospel presents a plan for Lent

When we look at the Gospel today, it is short but lays out the plan for our Lenten retreat.Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God” ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.’”

And so, we begin our Lenten journey here with this proclamation and we work backwards. We begin where Jesus began; by going into the desert for forty days. The desert of the Gospel is symbolic of the three practices, given to us by the Church, for the Lenten season: Prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

We are warned by John that as we journey through this desert time we will be tempted by satan; that we will be among wild beasts of those who reject God. But, we also hear that angels will minster to us as we go.

Now, we look into Genesis, our first reading for what John means by angels; those messengers of God who surprise us by revealing truths about God unexpectedly. They surprise us like a rainbow.

If we practice what the Church gives us for lent, our eyes will begin to see and our ears begin to hear more acutely the presence of God among us. These revelations will give us hope when we become weak in temptation.

My friends, what God is teaching us today is that these are serious times and we need to take stock of what is important for our children and for us to get to heaven. Worldly goals are fleeting, but spiritual goals are eternal.

Use this Lent wisely, do practical things that will help you integrate your spiritual, intellectual and physical lives that will help you deepen your personal relationship with Jesus and further your participation in the Church.

Offer your sacrifices for someone in imitation of what Jesus did on Calvary. Make sure you can achieve these sacrifices with effort, balance and above all, a good sense of why we do these things –to be a perfected image of Christ in the world.

Remember, we find the sacred when we discover God. We discover God often times in the unexpected, in the surprise, in the unlikely places of our ordinary lives. Practice well and gain eyes to see and ears to hear. “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.”