First Sunday in Lent     Year C   10 March 2019

Like many others, I have a habit of remarking “What a week that was.”

…The shocking murder of two women reminding us that at least one woman dies each week from domestic violence.

…The oft quoted claim that one in four children suffer from some form of violence. It found another hearing.

…The further claims and counter claims regarding Cardinal Pell.

All helped to make it another difficult week.

Looking back, I never heard of these sorts of matters growing up. Protected, well yes. Naïve, maybe. But then, the papers were more refined, except the ‘Truth’ and we did not take the ‘Truth’.  TV did not arrive in the bush till the early 60’s and that fixed the movie pictures and their theatres for the most part.

It strikes me that Lent comes at a propitious time this year.

One commentator suggests we read this gospel account against the then current Hellenistic view widely accepted in Luke’s time, that the purpose of life was:

  • love of pleasure
  • love of possessions
  • love of glory.

These were often pursued with immense eagerness to the extent that they became synonymous with vice.

Jesus, in this account of the temptations, rejects the active and complete pursuit of these attractions in his answers to the satan, by choosing another way. This choice then sets him apart as a righteous person, a sage truly capable of teaching virtue and, hence, worth following. And we are called to follow him first and foremost!

So we are asked personally, regardless of what others may say, to give priority to the non-active pursuit of material comfort, to reject the desire to have power over others, and to avoid the testing of God.

Let us follow Moses’ injunction to bring happily the first fruits of our labour and present them to our loving God. We then pray that all those with power, be they in civic or religious position, quickly come to realise that the only power they have is that given to them “by my Father” and given so that they might humbly serve.

Mons Frank


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