Fr. Larry Lentz, CSV, is a former English teacher and administrator at Saint Viator High School. He now serves as associate pastor of St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas, as well as associate provincial.
Here is his reflection:
“Regardless of which evangelist is speaking to us, the first Sunday of lent always presents the same gospel story: the temptation of Jesus in the desert. Why, you may ask, focus on the retreat to the desert, fasting and temptation by the devil?
“Throughout the New Testament, when something important is about to happen, Jesus often goes off alone to reflect and prepare. This time, it is Jesus preparing for his public ministry that takes him alone into the desert.
“Looking back to the Old Testament, when the prophets were about to carry out a great work for the lord, they too would spend time in prayer and fasting, so Jesus, as prophet of the new covenant, did the same as he prepared for his mission of redemption.
“This action is an example for us as well. It is our Lenten model to follow if we are to successfully carry out our baptismal mission of being his other self in the world today. We too must pray, fast and address temptation and sin in our life.
“The season of Lent becomes a special time for us to examine our lives and lifestyles and do what we can to reconnect with the Lord by addressing the causes of alienation from our God.
“During Lent, what we give up, what we do that we have failed to do in the past, the spiritual brokenness we are able to mend, this will determine the joy of our Easter celebration.
“On Ash Wednesday, we heard: ‘Repent and believe in the Gospel, the good news.’ Today, we hear: Repent and become the good news. This is our Lenten challenge.”