YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF LENT
HOMILY THEME: PRAYER, FASTING AND ALMSGIVING
BY: Fr. Patrick
HOMILY: My friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus is tempted for 40 days in the desert. In this season of Lent we too accompany Jesus into our spiritual desert, to deepen our union with God. We began by receiving ashes on our foreheads which are a symbolic gesture of our mortality AND our need to turn away from certain habits in our lives and to turn towards God.
The three spiritual aids Jesus and his Church puts before us are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. By concentrating on these three things we’ll arrive at Easter a small bit more in tune with God and a better version of ourselves, more humane.
My friends, prayer and almsgiving are self-explanatory but many struggle to understand why we fast or do works of penance. That’s where we can create new habits. As Pope Francis said on Ash Wednesday fasting is being capable of giving up the superfluous and going to the essential. It’s about seeking the beauty of a simpler life. We can fast from our TVs and smartphones for example and make more time for those around us and for God.
By fasting we practice self-restraint, to allow our will, our spirit to conquer the desires of the flesh, our temptations. I’ve given my own personal example in the past of trying to fast from peanuts. If I can’t say no to the cravings of the body that seek to control me, then my will is not free, my impulses and temptations rule me. ‘Until we learn to reign over our bodies we never really experience all that life can be’ (M. Kelly, Rediscover Catholicism ).
Self-mastery, creating new habits, going back to the essential in our lives and living simpler are some of the advantages of this season of Lent; to renew our relationship with God, with others and with our true selves, and so to live a more fulfilled and happy life.
My friends, may God bless and accompany you in this season of grace. Amen.
Conclusion of Mass – the takeaway
May this season of Lent deepen our union with God by creating new habits, getting back to the essential in our lives and living simpler!