Homilies Lent

Friday of the Second Week of Lent (School Mass)

Today’s readings

Today’s two readings remind us of what Lent is all about.  During Lent, we remember that our Lord, who came down from heaven to earth to save us from our sins and re-connect us with the love of God, our Lord paid the price for our many sins by laying down his own life. 

Probably some of our students remember the story from the first reading because, just two years ago, we staged a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  We know that Joseph’s jealous brothers ended up selling him into slavery in Egypt, but that in Egypt he became a powerful and talented government official who ended up saving many people, including his own brothers, from starvation during a famine. 

The parallels here between Joseph and Jesus are many.  Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt; Jesus came to take away our slavery to sin.  Joseph’s own brothers plotted to kill him; Jesus was killed by us, his brothers and sisters.  Joseph fed the known world at that time by storing up grain for the day of famine; Jesus fed the multitudes, and us, with the bread that comes down from heaven.  Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver; Judas was given thirty pieces of silver to hand Jesus over to death.  Joseph, in many ways, was a foreshadowing of Jesus.

In our Gospel today, Jesus tells a parable which is a foreshadowing of what will soon happen to him.  The vineyard owner, God the Father, is looking for the fruit of the harvest, which is our faith.  Instead, the people of old beat and murdered the prophets who came to give God’s word, just as the messengers of the vineyard owner were beaten and murdered.  And finally, when God, the vineyard owner, sends his own Son, he was killed too. 

The people of Jesus’ day missed the foreshadowing, they missed the parallels, they didn’t get that God was continually reaching out to them to gather them in faith.  But we know the story, all of it, and we can’t be like them.  We have to be ready to hear the truth and act on it, to see Jesus in other people and respond to him, to live the Word he speaks to us and live that Word in faith each day.

God loved us so much that he gave us his only begotten Son; we have to treasure that gift and let it make us new people.  That’s what Lent is all about, friends.  Lent means “springtime,” and it has to see new growth in us, so that we can be a vineyard of faith to give joy to the world.

Homilies Lent

Ash Wednesday

Today’s readings

Someone reminded me that last year, I proclaimed that Lent to be the “Lentiest Lent that ever Lented!”  Certainly we have just been through a very Lenty year, with the specter of a pandemic, the sadness of racial injustice and social unrest, the frustration of political rancor, and all the rest.  The arrival of Lent again, already, well, it almost seems unfair, doesn’t it?

And this Lent seems more unfair with the directive that we cannot trace an ashen cross on people’s foreheads due to the pandemic.  Instead, today, we will sprinkle them on your heads as you bow in penitence.  But it seems like it’s just another thing they’ve taken away from us, that the virus has stolen from us.  Unless we, people of faith that we are, change our outlook.  If we look at this as an opportunity to receive ashes the way most non-English speaking countries in the world have for ages, then we can see this as an opportunity for Church unity.  If we seek to still witness to our faith even though we can’t point to our ashes, then we can see this as an opportunity to strengthen our Christian witness every day.  I get it: it’s still another thing we’ve lost this year, but if we activate our faith and let God give us new opportunities, then maybe this can be the moment that we get out of the funk we’ve seemingly been in for the last year and become a Church and a people who truly live for Christ so much that the people around us who don’t know Christ get curious about who he is.

In every day and age, times are tough.  Sometimes it seems times are tougher than others, and if this isn’t one of them, I don’t know what is.  But the only way we can get through that, honestly, is by being people of faith who entrust their times to the providence and love of God, who is most merciful.  Lent, friends, gives us the opportunity to do that, as it always does, through fasting, almsgiving, and prayer.

Fasting can take on a whole lot of forms.  It’s not the same thing as going on a diet for Lent.  We should certainly give something up, something that will be uncomfortable, something we will miss.  It should, ideally, be something we have given greater place in our lives than we have to God.  In fasting, friends, we learn that there is nothing we hunger for that God can’t provide, and provide much better, if we let him.  Fasting makes us remember that God is trustworthy, that his love for us helps us in ways we can’t even imagine.  So perhaps we will give up a favorite food or a television show, or a video game or social media.  Maybe we will give up the necessity to always be right, to always get our way, to always get the final word.  Maybe we will give up deep-seated resentments, or unjust attitudes toward others.  Maybe we will give up just living for ourselves and taking care of “number one.”

Almsgiving, too, can look different in every person’s life.  We are told that giving alms covers a multitude of sins, because giving alms shows love that is unencumbered by our ability to control things.  When we make a donation, when we give to a person in need, we let God decide exactly how that gets used.  It’s a way of freely giving of ourselves.  So maybe we will make a donation to the parish or to another charity; but almsgiving for us might look like giving of our time: helping to teach a religious education class or read to students, or looking in on an elderly neighbor or bringing them a lovingly-prepared meal.  Maybe giving alms for us looks like foregoing the daily Dunkin’ run or Starbucks stop and using that money to give to someone in need.  When we give of ourselves, we see God using us in ways we never even considered.

And finally, prayer.  We’re supposed to be praying every day, of course, and I think most of us do.  But there’s always the need, I think, to grow in our prayer lives.  That’s certainly true for me.  Maybe our prayer has become rote, or stale.  If that’s true, Lent is a great time to shake things up and do a reset.  I always tell people who say that their prayer life isn’t going anywhere to try something new.  Maybe the Rosary, or Divine Mercy, or if you’ve been doing those, maybe some centering prayer or prayerfully reflecting on a book of Scripture during Lent.  It could be coming to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, even if we’re doing it drive-up style for now.  It could even be as simple as zealously digging out a five minute break in the day to sit and be silent, looking at a religious picture, or listening to some inspirational music.  Whatever it is that we haven’t tried, it might be worth trying and see if we find it helpful.  Whatever leads us closer to God is always a grace, and God uses different experiences to speak to us all the time.  Try trying something new!

Lent isn’t all about the ashes.  There’s a lot to it: fasting, almsgiving, and prayer.  But in another sense, it is all about the ashes: how will we quiet ourselves, humble ourselves, do penance, and come closer to Jesus?  I hope your experience of ashes, and of Lent, this year enlivens your life with Christ in ways you never imagined.  I pray that this forty day retreat moves heaven and earth in our parish, in our community, and in our homes.

Holy Hours Homilies Lent

Holy Hour: Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Reading: Matthew 14:22-33

Why did you doubt?

This is one of those Saint Peter stories in the Gospel that sometimes causes preachers to give Saint Peter a hard time about his “little faith.”  I think Saint Peter displayed great faith here, although with an admittedly somewhat-rocky execution.  And I think this wonderful little story – one of my favorite Gospel stories – speaks to us in this very ponderous and difficult time, as our world struggles with a pandemic with seemingly no end nor cure in sight.  In times like this, we people of faith have special recourse to the Gospel and the saints, those same faithful friends who accompany us in all the good times and bad times of our lives.  All the more so now.

So I think this story shows Saint Peter doing three things right, and these right things are models for us people of faith in a time like this.

First, he goes to Jesus.  Realizing that what they originally took to be a ghost was, in fact, their Lord, Peter brazenly offers to come to Jesus on the water.  Why?  We could certainly impute all sorts of motives to Peter, maybe even ascribe it to folly.  But what’s right about this is that he wanted to be with Jesus, and Jesus wasn’t in the boat.  In the midst of a storm, he knew it was better to be with the Lord.  

I don’t know about you, but when I look around, it’s as stormy as I ever want to see the world right now.  We can go all sorts of places.  We can watch the wrong Netflix movies, or sit on the couch all day, or spend too much time on the internet, or stand in front of the refrigerator a million times.  But none of that is healthy.  You need to go to Jesus.  And I know that seems impossible when church is closed and you can’t receive the sacraments.  That’s a sadness for all of us. But you can still go to Jesus in your heart, you can pray and read scripture.  You absolutely have to do those things.  Get out of your boat and go where Jesus is.

The second thing Saint Peter does right is that he actually walks on the water.  How does he do that?  He does that by looking at Jesus.  Notice very carefully that he only stays above the water while he’s looking at Jesus.  When instead he notices how strong the wind was, he begins to sink.  Eyes on Jesus, he’s walking on water; eyes on the storm, and he’s sinking into the depths.

Our eyes can be fixed in the wrong place pretty easily these days.  We can scroll endlessly through Facebook.  We can watch the news for hours on end.  But none of this is helping us, friends.  All it’s causing is stress and sadness and a deep hole that we can’t fill up.  We have to look at Jesus.  Participate in a livestreamed Mass.  Pray the stations of the cross and the Rosary.  Meditate on the day’s readings.  Read one of the Gospels.  Anything to keep your eyes on Jesus.  Because if all you’re looking at is the storm, you’ll sink deeper and deeper.  Don’t let that happen.

The third thing Saint Peter models for us is when he finds himself sinking, he calls out to Jesus.  “Lord, save me!”  When he does that, he finds out that he can’t ever sink so deep that Jesus can’t pull him out.  Jesus reaches out his hand, catches him, and they both get back in the boat.

“Lord, save me!”  Sometimes we don’t know what to pray when things get bad.  I remember back in seminary when both of my parents came down with cancer and I had no idea how to pray anymore.  All I could say was, “Help.”  Kind of like, “Lord, save me!”  And God did help: he sent some of my classmates to come and pray with me and help me get my head and heart back where they needed to be.  Those little prayers are often more effective than ten minutes of endless talking at God.  

Because we’ve never sunk so far that Jesus can’t be our rescuer.  And when we’re sinking, he’s the best source of refuge.  Don’t ever forget that.  He’s out there, walking on the water, ready to grab your hand at any point.  Don’t ever think your problems are too big or too little to call on Jesus.  Sometimes we forget that we have a Savior, and sometimes we don’t think we need a Savior, all the while sinking deeper into the ocean of despair.  Jesus doesn’t want that to be so.  Reach out your hand, call his Name, and be saved.

One last thing we should note in this story: Jesus says, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  Saint Peter did in fact have little faith.  But I would assert that it’s better to have little faith than none at all.  Saint Peter’s little faith put him on the water with his Lord, and got him saved when he was sinking.  The other guys in the boat didn’t have those opportunities for growth.  Saint Peter always wanted to be with Jesus.  Sometimes – okay – often, he messed up.  But every time our Lord gave him a second chance.  And every time, that second chance gave Saint Peter the grace of growing in his faith.  Saint Peter is indeed a good model for all of us, all of us with our little faith.

Homilies Lent

Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Today’s readings

I love the readings we have today!  Susanna’s story is one of the most eloquent in the Old Testament Scriptures: in it we see the wisdom of the prophet Daniel, as well as the mercy and justice of God.  This story is certainly echoed in our Gospel reading about the acquittal of the woman caught in adultery, although Susanna was actually innocent.  In the Gospel reading, we see the wisdom of Jesus, brought about as it is with the mercy and justice of God.  But sadly, we see in both stories also the fickleness of the human heart and the evil and treachery that makes up some of our darker moments.

To those who seek to pervert justice and to collude with others against some other person, these readings expose those evil thoughts and flood the darkness with the piercing light of God’s justice.  No one has a right to judge others, especially when their own intentions are not pure.  Only God can give real justice, just as only God brings ultimate mercy.

To those who are the victims of oppression, these readings give hope that God in his mercy will always walk with those who walk through the dark valley, and give to the downtrodden the salvation which they seek.  God is ultimately very interested in the kind of justice that is characterized by right relationships with one another and with Him.  It is the desire of God’s heart that this kind of justice would be tempered with mercy and would go out and lighten all the dark places of the earth.

Today we are called upon to right wrongs, to be completely honest and forthright in our dealings with others, to seek to purify our hearts of any wicked intent, and most of all to seek to restore right relationships with any person who has something against us, or against whom we have something.  Our prayer this day is that God’s mercy and justice would reign, and that God’s kingdom would come about in all its fullness.

Homilies Lent

The Second Sunday of Lent

Today’s readings

This weekend’s homily is brief, because I’m also talking about our capital campaign.

I think it’s very important for us to realize that we are not at home in this world, wherever we are.  We are always travelers until we reach heaven, which is our true home.  I remember on the last day of my dad’s life, he kept looking at his watch and saying, “It’s almost time to go home.”  We kept telling him he couldn’t go home, because he was too sick.  But later that day when we were talking, we realized what he really meant.  He was on his way to his true home, our true home, that place we all want to go one day.

Jesus gave Peter, James and John a glimpse of that in today’s Gospel.  On seeing the vision, I think Peter realized that there was something like that going on here.  He wanted to build tents, to keep Moses and Elijah there and make that their home.  But he really was babbling, because, quite understandably, he didn’t know what to make of it all.

What they were getting, in a way, is a glimpse of heaven.  Jesus appearing with Moses, the giver of the Law, and Elijah, the epitome of Old Testament Prophets.  It’s Jesus himself who brings the Law to fulfillment, and Jesus himself who is the fulfillment of all the prophets’ messages.  They appeared in a dazzling vision that revealed what Jesus’ resurrected body would be like.  It was obviously different and glorious, and had the disciples stunned.

So in these days of Lent, it is well for us to remember that there is more to life than just what we see here.  The task, then, is to live our lives like we’re going to heaven.  Because that’s what we want.  Yes, we will have to take up the cross to get there.  Yes, we will have to venture into unknown territory like Abram.  But if we ever want to get to the joys of heaven, we have to be willing to brave the unknown and endure the cross and go wherever it is God takes us.

Homilies Lent

The Fifth Sunday of Lent (Cycle C Readings)

Today’s readings

Back in the sixth century before the birth of Christ, the Israelites were in a bad way.  They had been separated from their God by sin: against God’s commands, they had betrayed their covenant with the Lord and made foreign alliances, which he had forbidden them to do.  He forbade this because he knew that as they made these alliances, they would give in to the temptation to worship the so-called gods of the people they with whom they allied themselves.  As punishment, God separated them from their homeland: the cream of the crop of their society was taken into exile in Babylon, and those left behind had no one to lead them and protect them.  Because they moved away from God, God seemed to move away from them.  But he hadn’t: I think it was really they who had exiled themselves from God.  In today’s first reading, God shows them that he still loves them and cares for them, and promises to make them a new people. I love the line: “See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?”  God would indeed bring them back and create their community anew.

The Israelites were in exile, but exile can take so many forms.  And Saint Paul had a good sense of that.  For him, the exile was anything that was not Christ; a sentiment we should embrace.  Saint Paul knows that he has not yet taken possession of the glory that is promised him by Christ, and so he wants to leave behind the exile of the world and strains forward to all that lies ahead, the goal and prize of God’s calling in Christ.

Which brings us back to the woman caught in adultery.  We certainly feel sorry for her, caught in the act, dragged in front of Jesus and publicly humiliated.  But the truth is, just like the Israelites in the sixth century before Christ, she had actually sinned.  And that sin threatened to put her into exile from the community; well, it even threatened her life.  The in-your-face reversal in the story, though, is that Jesus doesn’t consider her the only sinner – or even the greatest sinner – in the whole incident. We should probably wonder about the man with whom she was committing adultery; that sin does, after all, take two. And as serious a sin as adultery certainly is, Jesus makes it clear that there are plenty of serious sins out there, and they all exile us from God.  As he sits there, writing in the sand, they walk away one by one.  What was he writing?  Was it a kind of examination of conscience?  A kind of list of the sins of the Pharisees?  We don’t know.  But in Jesus’ words and actions, those Pharisees too were convicted of their sins, and went away – into exile – because of them.

Sin does that to us. It makes exiles out of all of us. The more we sin, the further away from God we become.  And it doesn’t have to be that way.

Jimmy and Suzy went to visit their grandparents for a week during the summer.  They had a great time, but one day Jimmy was bouncing a ball in the house, which he knew he shouldn’t be doing.  It didn’t take long for the ball to hit grandma’s favorite vase, knocking it off the table and breaking it.  He picked up the pieces and went out back and hid them in the woodshed. Looking around, the only person who was around was his sister Suzy.  She didn’t say anything, but later that day, when grandma asked her to help with the dishes, Suzy said “I think Jimmy wanted to help you,” giving him a rather knowing look. So he did.  The next day, grandpa asked Jimmy if he wanted to go out fishing. Suzy jumped right in: “He’d like to, but he promised grandma he would weed the garden.”  So Jimmy weeded the garden.  As he was doing that, he felt pretty guilty and decided to confess the whole thing to grandma.  When he told her what had happened, grandma said, “I know.  I was looking out the back window when you were hiding the pieces in the woodshed.  I was wondering how long you were going to let Suzy make a slave of you.”

That’s how it is with sin: it makes a slave of us, and keeps us from doing what we really want to do. It puts us deep in exile, just as surely as the ancient Israelites.  And it doesn’t have to be that way.  You see, it’s easier than we think to end up in exile.  All we have to do is a good examination of conscience and then think about the way those sins have affected us.  Have they made us feel distant from God, family and friends?  Have they caused us to drift in our life and not feel God’s presence in times of hardship?

Exile is heartbreaking. And to the exile of sin, God has three things to say today:

First, “Go, and from now on, do not sin anymore.”  That sounds like something that’s easy to say but hard to do.  But the fact is, once we have accepted God’s grace and forgiveness, that grace will actually help us to be free from sin.  Of course, that’s impossible to do all on our own.  But God never commands us to do something that is impossible for us, or maybe better, he never commands us to do something that is impossible for him to do in us.  God’s grace is there if we but turn to him.

Second, God says: “Forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead.”  Once sin is confessed and grace is accepted, the sin is forgotten.  God is not a resentful tyrant who keeps a list of our offenses and holds them against us forever.  If we confess our sins and accept the grace that is present through the saving sacrifice of Jesus, the sins are forgotten.  But it is up to us to accept that grace.  We truly have to confess so that we can forget what lies behind and be ready for the graces ahead.

Third, God says: “See, I am doing something new.  Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”  We are the ones who get stuck in the past, always fearing to move forward because of past sins, hurts, and resentments.  We are called today to be open to the new thing God is doing in our lives.  The way to open up is to confess our sins and get rid of the past.

For a long time in my young life, I didn’t go to confession.  I didn’t think I needed to.  I grew up in that whole time of the church when it was all about how you felt about yourself.  Garbage. I knew something was wrong when I was in my young adulthood and felt lost.  I took a chance and went to confession at a penance service, and the priest welcomed me back.  In that moment, I knew exactly the new thing God was doing in me, and it felt like a huge weight was lifted off of me.  In fact, I was released from the exile of all my past sins and hurts.

I never forgot that, and whenever anyone comes to me in confession and says it’s been a long time since they went, I am quick to welcome them back.  Because that’s what God wants, and it’s a great privilege for me to be part of that.  He wants to lift that weight off of you, to end your exile.  All it takes is for you to see that new thing he is doing in you, and to strain forward to what lies ahead.

So we have just a few times left to receive that grace before Holy Week and Easter.  We have confessions on Friday at 6pm, and Saturday at 3pm.  Come to either of them that fit your schedule.  If you miss that, please check the bulletin today for a schedule of confessions at parishes around us.  Would that we would all take this opportunity to forget what lies behind, and strain forward to what lies ahead.  God is doing a new thing in all of us these Lenten days.  May we all be open to it.

Homilies Lent

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Today’s readings

There’s a lot of talk about water in these readings today, and when that happens, we know that it means the talk is really about baptism. We ourselves are the sick and lame man who needed Jesus’ help to get into the waters of Bethesda. The name “Bethesda” means “house of mercy” in Hebrew, and that, of course, is a symbol of the Church. We see the Church also in the temple in the first reading, from which waters flow which refresh and nourish the surrounding countryside. These, of course, again are the waters of baptism. Lent calls us to renew ourselves in baptism. We are called to renew ourselves in those waters that heal our bodies and our souls. We are called to drink deep of the grace of God so that we can go forth and refresh the world.

But what really stands out in this Gospel is the mercy of Jesus. I think it’s summed up in one statement that maybe we might not catch as merciful at first: “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” It’s hard to imagine being ill for thirty-eight years, I’m sure that would be a pretty bad thing. But I’m also pretty sure missing out on the kingdom of God would be that one, much worse, thing. There is mercy in being called to repentance, which renews us in our baptismal commitments and makes us fit for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Sometimes parishes have removed the holy water from church during Lent in a kind of fasting. This is exactly why you shouldn’t: Lent is all about baptism, all about God’s mercy, all about being renewed and refreshed and healed in God’s grace. Think about that the next time you put your hand into the holy water font and stir up those waters of mercy. Be healed and made new; go, and from now on, do not sin any more.

Homilies Lent

Thursday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s readings

If we take one thought out of Lent, it should be this: we need a Savior.

Even before Jesus’ time, Esther knew this. Esther’s adoptive father Mordecai was a deeply religious man. His devotion incurred the wrath of Haman the Agagite, who was a court official of King Ahasuerus of Persia. Mordecai refused to pay homage to Haman in the way prescribed by law, because he felt that it was idolatry. Because of this, Haman developed a deep hatred for Mordecai, and by extension, all of the Israelite people. He convinced King Ahasuerus to decree that all Israelites be put to death, and they cast lots to determine the date for this despicable event.

Meanwhile, Esther, Mordecai’s adopted daughter, is chosen to fill a spot in the King’s harem, replacing Queen Vashti. Esther never had revealed her own Israelite heritage to the King. Mordecai came to Esther to inform her of the decree that Haman had proposed, and asked her to intercede on behalf of her own people to the King. She was terrified to do this because court rules forbade her to come to the king without an invitation. She asked Mordecai to have all of her people fast and pray, and she did the same. The prayer that she offered is beautifully rendered in today’s first reading.

Esther knew that there was no one that could help her, and that it was totally on her shoulders to intercede for her people. Doing this was a risk to her own life, and the only one that she could rely on was God himself. Her prayer was heard, her people were spared, and Haman himself was hung from the same noose that had been prepared for Mordecai and all his fellow Israelites.

God hears our own persistent prayers. We must constantly pray, and trust all of our needs to the one who knows them before we do. We must ask, seek and knock of the one who made us and cares for us deeply. But most of all, we must always be aware that like Esther, we all need a Savior.

Homilies Lent

Monday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s readings

Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

People often balk at the mere suggestion of being called to personal holiness.  Oftentimes, this is wrapped up in a misplaced and false humility, that kind of humility that says that since I’m good for nothing, and so there is no way I can even come close to being like God.  Yet the fact of the matter is that we are made good by our Creator God who designed us to be like himself, perfect in holiness.

And if that seems too lofty to attain, Moses and Jesus spell out the steps to getting there today.  Clearly, personal holiness is not simply a matter of saying the right prayers, fasting at the right times, going to Church every Sunday and reading one’s Bible.  Those things are a good start and are key activities on the journey to holiness, but using them as a façade betrays a lack of real holiness.  Because for both Moses and Jesus, personal holiness, being holy as God is holy, consists of engaging in justice so that hesed – the Hebrew word meaning right relationship and right order – can be restored in the world.

Every single command we receive from Moses and Jesus today turns us outward in our pursuit of holiness.  Our neighbor is to be treated justly, and that neighbor is every person in our path.  Robbery, false words, grudges, withholding charity, rendering judgment without justice, not granting forgiveness and bearing grudges are all stumbling blocks to personal holiness.  All of these keep us from being like God who is holy.  And worse yet, all of these things keep us from God, period.

The law of the Lord is perfect, as the Psalmist says, and the essence of that law consists of love and justice to every person.  If we would strive for holiness this Lent – and we certainly ought to do so! –  we need to look to the one God puts in our path, and restore right relationship with that person.

Homilies Lent

The First Sunday of Lent: Remember Who You Are

Today’s readings

It’s really easy for us to forget who we are. That’s what all that tempting in the desert was all about. The devil wanted Jesus to forget who he was, what he came to do, and so then have power over him. He would have Jesus forget that real hunger is not satisfied by mere bread, but must be satisfied by God’s word. He would have Jesus forget that there is only one God and that real glory comes from obedience to God’s command and from living according to God’s call. He would have Jesus forget that life itself is God’s gift and that we must cherish it as much as God does.

And he wants us all to forget that stuff too. During this time of Lent, these 40 days in the desert for us, the devil wants us to forget that we can give up things we don’t truly need and depend on God to give us that which is so much better. He wants us to forget that we can give sacrificially to those in need and depend on God to satisfy our own needs. He wants us to forget that time spent in prayer is not a waste of time, that making time for God helps us to make time for everything important.

But just as Jesus didn’t forget who he was, we can’t forget either. We can take comfort when we are tempted because we know our Savior was tempted too. We can take courage in the desert, knowing that we don’t have to be out there all alone; that our Savior is there with us, giving us strength and example and direction.

This Lent needs to be first and foremost a remembering of who we are, so that we can be all that God wants for us. If we can accomplish that in these forty days, we will certainly attain an Easter of unending joy.