Jesus’ life is our life if we’re sincere about our faith. We unite ourselves to him by receiving his body and blood in the Eucharist. We meet him in the scriptures and walk with him on the path to heaven.
During Lent, the readings that the Church provides for Sunday and daily Mass will help us with this journey if we listen with an ear that recognizes our personal connections to Christ.
In this Luke 4:1-13, we journey with Jesus into the desert. Consider your own struggles with temptation; reflect on how sin makes your life feel barren and dry like a desert.
When we walk with Jesus, we unite ourselves to his struggle with the devil and to his victory over the devil. Our temptations become his temptations, and in our efforts to remain united to him, we reject Satan and choose the life of holiness. The Church helps us do this by giving us ways during Lent to improve our self-discipline and conquer the self-centeredness that makes us vulnerable to sin: fasting and abstinence, alms-giving, reconciliation services, faith formation events, reading materials, and more.
Every meal and meat that we give up for Lent, every sin that we confess in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, every sacrifice of time that we make to add more prayer and spiritual reading to our daily life, and every other Lenten activity is a practice of self-denial that unites us to Jesus in the desert.
Jesus fasted from food and other physical comforts during his battle with the devil, and this strategy strengthened him and prepared him for the ministry that came afterward. This is what Lent should be for us, too.
Satan is not someone to fear. Jesus already defeated all demons on our behalf, first in the desert and then on the cross. Our battle is really only against temptation and our personal weaknesses that make us vulnerable to succumbing to sin.
We don’t always want to follow Jesus. This is what we must surrender to God during Lent. Then Easter will be far more meaningful, because we will emerge from Lent much stronger in our faith.
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