From Ashes to Easter

2023년 2월 26일

From Ashes to Easter

< First Sunday of Lent >

We begin each Lent by fasting (eating only one meal and two small snacks) and abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent, and giving alms to the poor and less fortunate. We do this for forty days in honor of the time Jesus spent in the wilderness of Judea. Today we hear the gospel of the dramatic encounter Jesus had with the devil during those 40 days. Notice Jesus speaks with the devil. But even more surprising, the devil
quotes scripture! Jesus was hungry, so the devil tempted him to turn stones into bread; Jesus wanted to show he was the Messiah, so the devil tempted him to jump from the high point of the Temple because the Bible predicted God wouldn’t allow his Anointed to stumble; and lastly the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and offered these in exchange for a simple gesture: bow down before Satan.

Each temptation had the same goal: get Jesus to forget his humanity and use his divine power for himself. But Jesus became human to save all humanity by sanctifying our humanity. The first reading from the book of Genesis reminds us that trying to be like God caused Adam and Eve to sin by eating the forbidden fruit. Thus sin and death entered into the world. So to save the world God took on our human limitations and death to show us the power of God released when we confess our sins and ask God’s grace that in becoming more human we become more like Jesus, and thus more like God. But to do this we must fast and pray that God empowers us to be weak that Christ might become strong in us. We start Lent with a reminder of our morality when we receive ashes on our forehead with the words: “Remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return.” Lent ends with us entering into the passion and death of Jesus so that we might die and rise through him who died and rose for us.