Homily First Sunday of Lent Year C Remain in relationship with God

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Homily First Sunday of Lent Year C

Reading 1: What we have here is the rationale for God’s command to the people to offer their first fruits as a tithe of thanksgiving. As they offer their gifts they are to recall in general the great deeds and blessings of God, not only in their personal life, but in the lives of their ancestors. For what God did for their ancestors redounded to them.

In union with Jesus we offer the perfect sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord for being our Lord and for blessing us in so many ways. We remember how God has shown his love and mercy; blessed us with salvation; united us to himself as his sons and daughters; forgiven our many sins. We acknowledge that he is our God and we are dependent on him.

When we make our weekly offerings-our tithe—how reflective are we of God’s many blessings, not only to us, but to our ancestors. Because of their blessings we have been impacted today. Can we repay God to the level he has blessed us? Does he need our tithes? Is it not for our sake that God calls us to recognize his many blessings and to consciously respond in gratitude rather than out of obligation or mindlessly?

Reading 2: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Is salvation that simple? Did not Jesus say: “It is not enough to say ‘Lord, Lord,’ but to do the will of the Father.” The first step to salvation is to sincerely believe that Jesus is Lord of our lives as a result of his death and resurrection.  He gave his life so that we may live. He ransomed and redeemed us with the price of his blood.

The second step is to put this faith proclamation into action by doing the will of the Father. It is not that we merit or earn salvation. Salvation is a gift of God’s mercy and love. Faith in the heart, profession on the lips and doing the will of God—all are our response to the gift. The more we respond, the more we open ourselves to the fullness of the salvation, which is life in and with God eternally.
Gospel: Jesus has just had a mountain-top experience. He made a public commitment of his life to the Father, accepting the mission of being the Savior of the world and proclaiming the Good News leading to salvation. And the Father revealed his personal love and acceptance, acknowledging that Jesus in his humanity was his beloved Son/Servant with whom he was well pleased. Then Jesus experienced the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, empowering him to fulfill his mission even to the death of the cross.

In his humanity Jesus now experiences the temptation of the Evil One, whom he has come to confront and defeat. What are the temptations? They haven’t changed since the beginning. Try to separate man from God and so lose his true identity. Have man question his relationship of dependency upon God. Have man focus on himself and not God.

The first temptation: you are naturally hungry after fasting so long. That is a truth. You have the power to change stones into bread. Don’t depend on the Father, take care of yourself. That is a life. In response, Jesus speaks the truth based on the Word of God.

The second temptation: the power of wealth and prestige is superficial, here today and gone tomorrow. The truth is that the evil One is not the source of any real power. He was allowed only to use this power. The lie is he is God. Jesus speaks again the truth based on the Word of God.

The third temptation: testing God’s power and love. Jesus knows who he is and who God is and what his relationship with God is in his humanity. Jesus chose to remain in this relationship in obedience and love.

While the Evil One tempts us away from relationship with God, God allows us to go through tests to draw us closer to him. Our Lent is a yearly journey of rejecting the temptations and embracing the tests, of refusing to be separated from God through sin and remaining with God by his grace.

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