“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan…” – Mark 1:12-15
This spartan passage from the Gospel of Mark provides the reader with hardly any details of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. Except for the setting and duration, we are left to imagine the rest. What temptations might we face in this uniquely barren Lenten season? Lately, I’ve been tempted to plug in and escape the bleak reality of life during this pandemic. Who wouldn’t rather dodge the unpleasantness of work – or the bombardment of the 24-hour news cycle – by zoning out on social media or Netflix?
The second half of the Gospel provides a slightly more optimistic message. After enduring loneliness, self-doubt, and unimaginable longing, Jesus emerges with an empowering message: now is the time. “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” The Holy Spirit invites us to build up God’s Kingdom – right here, right now with what we have, in ways we are able. What a wake-up call! Wouldn’t we regret giving our attention to trivial matters instead of appreciating the richness of the present moment? I know I would.
Questions for reflection: How can I be present to myself, God, and others at this time? Who has ministered to me and helped bring me through personal hardship?
– Diana Hanger (Trinity YAM Leader)
Ways of “Discovering Forgiveness” This Week
- On the Road to Forgiveness – Feb. 21st, part of Holy Family’s “Let’s Lent Together” series
- On the Road to Lent – Holy Family’s 2021 Parish Mission
- Cultivating Hope (Whatever the Circumstances), with Cambria Tortorelli – Feb. 26th, part of Holy Family’s “Lenten Lucis” series
- Lenten Taize Prayer: Healing Hope – Feb. 26th with Christus Ministries
- The Mission – award winning film about redemption, forgiveness, faith, & justice
- A Way to Forgiveness – documentary by San Gabriel region young adult Erin Dooley
- Les Miserables (1998 drama) or Les Miserables (2012 musical) – film adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel
- “Our Three Temptations” – article by Ronald Rolheiser, OMI
- The Ignatian Guide to Forgiveness Lenten Read-Along – guided reading throughout Lent (purchase of the book required)
- An Examen for the First Week of Lent – from Ignatianspirituality.com
- Stations of the Cross – from Catholic Relief Services, with reflections to remember those suffering around the world
- Growing Back Better – audio Lenten retreat from Pray-As-You-Go