February 22, 2015 - 1st Sunday of Lent, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
If we sit down to watch the evening news or check out the breaking news on the Internet these days, it’s mostly bad news.
News outlets vie for our attention with stories that are sensational and controversial because sin sells, destruction sells, scandal sells. But is it good news? Not so much.
We’ve become numb to the daily stories about destructive storms, violent crime, terrorism, global warming, federal overspending and government waste.
So when Jesus says, “Repent and believe in the Gospel,” I’m not so sure we even know what that means anymore.
The word gospel literally means good news. Repent and believe in the good news. But what good news? The good news that Jesus overcomes temptation for us.
What temptation? The temptation to be overwhelmed by all the bad news we hear everyday and to lose hope because of it.
When we lose hope, we are an easy target for Satan. He gets into our heads and we start to believe the lies he tells us.
We know that life can be hard. So, we believe Satan when he tells us we are not up for the task that we should just give in to our sinful impulses and desires because that would make our lives easier.
We know that life can be unfair. So, we believe Satan when he tells us he can make it fair for us, if we’d just turn to him for help.
We know that life can knock us to the ground and trample us underfoot. So, we believe Satan when he tells us that we don’t have the strength to get up again.
Maybe for Lent we promised to relax in the car on the drive home from work, but we lost it the first time someone cut us off in traffic.
Maybe we promised to give up alcohol for Lent or Internet pornography or something else, but the first time things got tough we indulged again.
Maybe we promised to be more charitable this Lent, but we find ourselves unable to resist the urge to be selfish and self-absorbed.
Unlike Jesus, we are not so good at resisting temptation. We fail again and again. But, the good news is that Jesus has already overcome all these temptations for us. Jesus knows we cannot battle evil alone.
Jesus wants to come into our lives to help us. Jesus wants to be our trusted friend, to journey through the temptations with us. So where can we encounter Jesus? Let us look to Noah for a clue.
Noah’s ark was built to save those who took refuge in it. The ark is an ancient Christian symbol for the Church. So the Church is built to save those who take refuge in it.
We come here to this sacred place for refuge. We come here to hear the good news. We come here to draw nearer to Jesus asking the Lord to help us overcome temptation.
Christ suffered for our sins once so that he might be able to lead us to God. Let us turn to him with our temptations. Let us beg him to be our refuge and our strength.
This is good news! So, let us not get caught up in our daily dose of bad news. Let us not lose hope.
Let us take advantage of the next forty days to repent and truly believe in the good news, the good news of Jesus who battles the evils in our lives for us.
Jesus comes proclaiming the good news of God, “This is the day of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.