Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - Temptation
We are all familiar with the scriptural account of original sin and Adam'€™s never to be forgotten excuse -"The woman you gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit and I ate it" and then Eve'€™s - "the serpent tricked me". Passing the buck is not a new exercise. The real answer to temptation is within ourselves and can only be found through a well developed sense of discipline. Our readings today deal with this eternal conflict people experience in the choice of good over evil.

Genesis 2: 7-9; 3:1-7
Here we read of the choice given to people by god - your way or My way, and the consequences of a bad decision.

Romans 5: 12-19
In this letter Paul draws a parallel between Adam and Christ - through Adam, sin entered into the equation; through Christ, redemption became possible, but only on request.

Matthew 4: 1-11
This reading summarises the temptations which cause people to sin - the temptation to materialism; the temptation to pride; and the temptation to power.

Point 1: These short reflections are intended to encourage us look at the many ways in which we train ourselves to give a Christian response to life'€™s situations. In other words, how to become a more complete Christian personality. And as with all forms of education, discipline is an essential factor. For this reason, throughout the year, the Church in its liturgy invites us to familiarise ourselves with the great events of salvation history on which our faith is based. During Lent, especially, we are asked to consider the forty days Jesus spent in the desert, the highlight of which was His confrontation with the devil and the three fold temptation presented to Him.

Point 2: The title "Lent" comes from an old English word meaning '€˜springtime'€™ - a season when new life reappears after the long, harsh northern winter. Lent is our time for revival and renewal. We have all been through enough Lents to realise that complete transformation will probably not occur. But Lent is still a time for serious repair work in specific areas of our spiritual redevelopment. Let us look at some of these areas, Maybe there are doubts about the faith or questions about things we do in the Church or that are done in the name of the Church. Lent can be a time in which to resolve such doubts and to get some straight answers. Many parishes have a Lenten programme offering opportunities to look at such problems. Maybe there are sour relationships creating problems? Lent is a time to find ways to let the healing begin. Where we see a series of acrimonious interactions with people, it is well to remember that it takes two to tango, and part of the fault invariably lies with either party. Recall Christ'€™s advice to His disciples -"So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go to be first reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come offer your gift.
And then, there is the matter of Prayer. Each of us would like to be able to pray more easily and spontaneously, as Jesus did. Lent is a great time for revitalising our prayer life - not necessarily more prayer, but better prayer! The celebration of the Eucharist! Regular moments of thanksgiving!
Two other focal points of the Lenten observance are almsgiving and fasting. Almsgiving is not only about money, but it can also mean sharing oneself with others. It can involve extension of our time, our life experiences or our spirituality with others. It reminds us of the broader world of which we are but a part. It can also remind us that privilege goes hand in hand with responsibility. Finally fasting. It is more than dieting; its purpose is to enable us to regain control over our physical appetites; not so easy in today'€™s consumeris society but necessary if we are to assert mastery in the face of temptation.

Conclusion: All in all, then, Lent should be a time of sober realism; a time for recollection and reflection on our ultimate destiny as expressed in the liturgy of Ash Wednesday - "Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return" So! Turn to the Lord and seek forgiveness.

Scriptural reference: "behold now is the acceptable time; behold now is the time of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:12)