Homily – 1st Sunday of Lent

Have we each had the experience of just wanting to say would just come to the point? Stop all the words, just tell me what you want. Have we all had one of those moments? And I’m willing to bet if you were to tell the truth, you would say that after listening to many homilies, you just want to say, Father, just get to the point.

Well, that is exactly what Mark does in today’s gospel. He gets right to the point. There are only five sentences in today’s gospel, Mark and excuse me, Matthew and Luke spend a lot of time with the temptations of the desert. Luke Only Mark only gives it two sentences and then three sentences about Jesus coming out of the desert.

That’s it. He comes right to the point. And what is the point of today’s gospel that Jesus’s life was dominated by one single desire. It was the desire to proclaim the Kingdom of God here on Earth a kingdom of peace, love and justice. His mission was not yet to save people’s souls. It was not about taking over the world.

It was not about getting anybody to have them. It was just about saying, God is present right now, pretty much to the point that is this season of Lent. It’s to come right to the point that through prayer, self-sacrifice and works of charity, we spend 40 days getting ready to do one thing renew our baptismal promises. We have to cut to the chase, get right to the point.

Here it is. We now are to proclaim the Kingdom of God to the world. But there’s a little bit of difference here. We are to proclaim God’s reign of justice, peace and love. We are about saving people’s souls. We are about taking on the world. We are about to need people to have them because Christ Jesus has come for us.

He’s presented the way, the truth and the life. And now we are called to live it because Jesus’s 40 days in the desert were absolutely crucial for him. Are these two weeks of 40 days of Lent absolutely crucial for us, or is it the same old, same old only we call Lent? Jesus had to make the choice. He didn’t come in violence.

He didn’t want to be a rebel rebellion leader. He didn’t want to be a zealot. He didn’t want to kill anyone. He didn’t want to be like the priests in the temple. He didn’t want their piety. He didn’t want their spirituality. Rather, Jesus’s 40 days in the desert led him to choose peace over violence, prayer over piety, and a new way of looking to God, our father.

Lent offers each and every one of us the same opportunities peace over violence, prayer over piety, a new way of looking at our faith and that our world, when we consider what was Jesus’s experience in the desert. Now, when I hear the word desert, I immediately think of being like in the Sahara Desert. Lots of sand, lots of heat, lots of dirt, dust, not pleasant.

But then if we have the opportunity of going to the Israeli desert, the desert of Sinai, we discover something different. We discover that it is very hot during the day, but very cold at night. There’s no real way of being comfortable in the Sinai. It’s either too hot or too cold, not much in the middle, and it’s really not very sandy, It’s very rocky.

There are big rocks and medium sized rocks and little rocks. It’s easy to trip over the medium sized rocks, but find shelter and safety in within the big rocks. And you know, it’s not very dirty. It it’s really very peaceful. It’s very calm. And there’s something else about the desert of Sinai at night. It is really dark. It’s possible to look up and see millions, literally millions of stars there.

They’re just amazing. And, you know, there’s even one more thing when you’re looking up at the stars at night, it is very, very quiet. I mean, it’s really silent light. There’s no noise. And so that brilliant darkness and that incredible silence leads one to listen for the voice of God that was Jesus is experience listening for the voice of God because Jesus was not in the desert alone. Jesus was driven into the desert by the Holy Spirit.

This Lent, are we kind of in the middle? Neither too hot, not really excited about Lent, Not really too cold, really not indifferent to Lent, but just somewhere in the middle. Are we really amazed at how many obstacles, how many rocks are put in our place? How many of us are tripping over those daily temptation and in our experience of Lent, how many of us are taking the time to look up into the sky to see the stars, to be silent, to really listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit leading us through this season of Lent. You know, the end of the Gospel passage about the Temptation of the Desert was and Jesus was was ministered to by the angels. There are angels all around us this Lent. Are we listening for the angels? Are we willing to be ministered to by others? Lent is truly a grace time. It is a time to embrace with enthusiasm the joy of preparing to renew our baptismal promises at Easter, to inspire us the fresh breath of the Holy Spirit.

It’s a time to embrace God’s love, to grow in our understanding of the abundant riches of God. It’s time not to beat ourselves up, but it’s a time to focus on God’s goodness and faithfulness to us. The promises he gave us at baptism. It’s a time to be just like Jesus, to claim victory, to be ministered to by angels.

Lent is spring. Springtime. It is the springtime of the Holy Spirit, a time of hope and renewal, and are we getting right to the point? And the point is opening our hearts to God, to the surprises that can come our way. If we listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit, It’s time to get to the point that through prayer, charity and self-sacrifice, we can undo all of the hurt in our world and replace all the hurt with affirmation and appreciation.

It’s time to get to the point to give up watching television or YouTube or our iPhones and listen, Watch Nature Allowing the wonders of springtime to enter our experience. It’s getting to the point. So Jesus, throw 40 days. Got to the point. He became the savior of the world. And we during Lent have to get to the point.

The point is proclaiming God’s kingdom. And so in that spirit of Jesus in the desert, let us open our hearts and allow Christ, Jesus and the Angels to minister to us.