First Sunday of Lent
A Homily - Cycle C - 2012-2013
by Rev. Luke Dundon

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First Reading Deuteronomy 26:4-10
Responsorial Psalm 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15
Second Reading Romans 10:8-13
Gospel  Luke 4:1-13

Written to explain that
Christ came to save everyone.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.  He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry.  The devil said to him.  "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread."  Jesus answered him, "It is written, One does not live on bread alone". 

Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.  The devil said to him, "I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish.  All this will be yours, if you worship me".  Jesus said to him in reply, "It is written, You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve". 

Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone".  Jesus said to him in reply, "It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test".  When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

Welcome to the Asteroid Shelter.  Itís really quite amazing -0 we look upon rocks and boulders on hills and mountains, and we think, he?  Itís a rock . . . we barely raise an eyebrow . . . but when a rock or boulder is hurtling right past us in outer space, THEN the eyebrows are arching and radios are tuned in . . . itís all a matter of context . . . if itís sitting on a mountainside, Ďeh,í but one that rock is floating in the mysterious weightlessness of outer space, THAN we can appreciate how great God is in His creation of the wondrous and amazing . . . rock!

But I think thatís a big reason why Lent is so helpful for us . . . as we allow the Spirit to lead us into the desert, as we intensify our prayer, and give up our favorite drink or food, and spend more time helping our elderly neighbor or family member, we are able to SEE the beauty of what God has given us in our everyday lives . . . and, even better, weíre able to SEE the beauty of God Himself, for weíve finally gotten out of the way and have allowed HIM to shine through.  Before entering seminary, I used to work on mountaintops, observing asteroids and comets through telescopes.  At 14,000 feet, you get a little woozy by the end of the night, so thereís a great trick to pull Ė you step outside, see the beauty of the stars in the pitch black of night, but you canít see everything, because with the low oxygen the blood in your eyes can only receive so much.  So you take an oxygen tank out with you, you take a puff of the oxygen, and BAM!  Every star in the heavens opens up before you Ė Iíd look out at the sky at night, and wonder, Lord, how lovely is your creation!  How beautiful YOU must be!  Every single star and planet, wonderfully positioned by the Divine Architect . . .

And, since WE are a part of that amazing creation, we each have a powerful and captivating part to play in this creation as well.  At the turn of the year, we heard St. Paul mention that each member of the body has important roles to fulfill.  Some had the gift for healing, some had the gift of prophecy, some had the gift of administration . . . ALL of them beautiful gifts from the Holy Spirit Ė and ALL of them fully utilized in the early Church, because the people were willing to NOTICE them.  Want know something amazing?  The Spirit continues to give these gifts Ė and not just these, but so many more . . . unfortunately, modern culture tires to scientifically rationalize everything away . . . at least everything it can in the natural world.  Thank God these gifts are SUPERNATURAL, and the only way to really NOTICE them is through PRAYER.  Iím looking out a bunch of gifted people right now Ė do you know it?  Do you know what youíve been given?  I know I didnít . . . as I was entering seminary, there was one thing I absolutely DREADED, FEARED and generally wasnít happy about Ė working with CHILDREN!  I thought, oh, it requires too much ENERGY, thereís no WAY Iíll be able to minister to children!  Thereís no WAY Iíll be able to relate to them!  But the Lord is the one who called me to this . . . and now not a day goes by where I try to find an excuse to go visit the school kids at Corpus Christi . . . in the words of one teacher, we speak the same language . . . Iíll take it as a compliment . . . God can allow, can call us to have the most unexpected impact on others . . . we just need to make the time to SEE it . . . and TRY it!

So THAT is why Fr. Donahue is kind enough to be hosting a team of experts all the way from Denver, Colorado, who will be here on April 12th and 13th, to give our parish a two--day workshop on discerning our gifts from the Lord.  This workshop, based on reviews from countless other dioceses, is GUARANTEED to be a shot of spiritual oxygen into our souls, to allow us to SEE who we really are Ė children of God, FILLED with the fullness of His Spirit.  Itís GUARANTEED to help us see what we have been GIVEN Ė and when we USE these gifts, and see how much they TOUCH others in our lives, youíll be so excited to start using these gifts, quite literally these powers, right here at St. Philipís!  Curious?  I hope so . . . parishes from all over the diocese are clamoring to come, registration opens up to THEM next weekend, and we have limited space!  So sign up SOON, attend the workshop, and allow the Spirit to do the magnificent things in your lives that He has been longing to do.

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