February 25,2007  The First Sunday in Lent
 
Readings :          Deuteronomy 26: 4-10 Psalm 91: 1-2, 10-15
Psalm Response:           “Be with me Lord, when I am in trouble”.
Romans 10:8-13                       Luke 4:1-13
 
The Book of Deuteronomy essentially means, “The Second gift of the Law to the Israelite people.” In it are many prescriptions for the proper order of adorations and sacrifices are articulated in plain language so there would be no misunderstandings.
From today’s passages, we recognize some of the ancient traditions the Church has continued even to today.
At the Offertory, the gifts of the people in the form of the unconsecrated Bread and Wine and the free-will offering for the support of the Parish are brought to the altar by the people reminiscent of the first sentence from today’s first reading.
The reference to the “Aramean” in reality, is the person and Nation of Israel. The small family of Jacob ( Israel ) because of the famine in Caanan, journeyed to Egypt for sustenance.
There the Hebrew people proliferated into a force the Egyptians thought would overrun them if they were left unchecked. They were treated abominably, as slaves, and at their plea for help to their God, He responded with events so ominous, their captors were anxious to be rid of them.
The Lord heard their prayers and delivered them from subjugation, into a world they didn’t earn or even dream would ever be theirs.
 
The Psalmist echoes the prayer of the rescued people. The lines of the psalm are very familiar to us as the words to the Hymn, “On Eagle’s Wings”, are taken almost verbatim for the psalm. They are also reflected in the temptation story in today’s selection from Luke. The word translated “Tempted” has another meaning wider than “temptation”. It is “put to the test”. Although we may say, “So what!, the same Greek word, “peirazo” is also used in the Lord’s Prayer. Being “put to the test” sounds more ominous than “tempted”. Although many of us may be tempted, and successfully avoid temptation, being “put to the test” requires a more reserved understanding of the Will of God.
 
Paul doesn’t quote Chapter and Verse in the beginning of his writing from Romans. He questions simply, “What does Scripture say?” He then quotes from Deuteronomy 30: 14.
Since Scripture in Paul’s day, was from the Septuagint, the Greek translation from the Hebrew, and wasn’t in codex form but on scrolls weighing several kilos, not many people would have the Scriptures available except in their memory.
Paul’s main message for the Romans and us is our salvation relies on our heartfelt faith and our willingness to share our faith with others.
Our friends in other Christian traditions insist on the calling on the NAME of Jesus as sufficient for their never-ending salvation. However, Christ Himself said, “ Not everyone who calls, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven , but only those who DO the will of My Father!”
 
Christ, was put to the test after undergoing an extended fast. Normally, the desire for food would have tested the staunchest resolve. So the accuser(the devil) used the opportunity to lure Him into a situation where He would understandably be susceptible and crater to the siren of satisfaction. Christ instead, rebuked satan and was further tested until he proved no match for God and left dejected.
 
Our lives are filed with opportunities to reject the glamour of the limelight and adulation. It is at those times when we need the Grace of the Sacraments to be able to ward off the lure of satisfaction and personal gratification. No one is immune! However, we are all imbued with the desire to please God . It is then we are able to say,”NO” to the allure of the world and substitute God’s infinite love for us as all we need!
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