Holy Cross Catholic Church

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1st Sunday in Lent - February 26, 2023

Dear friends,

On this first Sunday of Lent, the readings open our eyes on the consequences of the choices we make in front of events, situations, and things in our life. In the first reading, we are told that the tree in the middle of the garden was enticing; it was “good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.” Like all of us, Adam and Eve only wanted the good. But more than the good, they wanted to be gods. How many people whish that we were gods at times? Unfortunately, they listened to the deceiving siren. They jumped to what only appears to be. They ate and their eyes were opened, not to what they longed for, but to the truth: they were creatures, not gods, nor God.

As a matter of facts, trying to be something other than who they were filled them with shame, which is feeling bad about who we are. Healthy guilt, on the other hand, means feeling bad about what we did. Shame is destructive. Guilt can give life. They went hiding not because they felt guilty, but because they were ashamed. We are reminded that we can learn what is truly good, pleasing, and desirable, rather than what only appears to be.

In the gospel reading, Satan tempts Jesus by offering what the Evil One cannot deliver: true food, ultimate authority, and true worship. At first sight what is offered appears to be good. However, only God can satisfy our deepest hungers. That is why we are to trust and not test God. Only God is worthy of our worship. Contrarily to Adam and Eve, Jesus saw through these offers because he knew the One who alone can satisfy us and is worthy of our worship and trust. That is why Saint Paul calls him the New Adam; the One who restores the balance of our relationship with God which was upset by the disobedience and the life-killing choice of the Old Adam. Forty days and nights of fasting deepened his understanding of who he and God are. That knowledge freed him to accept death on the cross, where we receive the gift of justification.

During this first week of Lent, let us reflect on our life and attempt to respond to the following questions: Have we put our trust in what only appears to be good, pleasing, and desirable, or in the One who alone can satisfy our hungry hearts? Let us ask God to open our eyes to see who we are, children of God who belong to Jesus Christ. May our Lenten journey renew our identity so that we can discover what is really good, desirable, and life-giving. And let us continue to pray for one another and for our parish family.

Fr. Emery


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