Monday, March 14, 2011

First Sunday in Lent

MATTHEW 4: 1-11

MARCH 14, 2011

We live in a universe that is unstable and changing. Our little earth is part of this. We have earthquakes. Platelets beneath the earth are shifting and competing for space with one another. Japan had a whopper of an earthquake recently. It caused much damage and loss of life. God made the universe. There will be exploding stars, new stars being formed, and locally, floods, earthquakes, and more. Maybe the poles are going to reverse themselves, the one north going south and the one south going north.

This can be a cause for anxiety if we think about it. One answer that the power of evil gives, is to seek more of something such as power, control, food, and things. Adam and Eve were in the garden, tending to this shaky earth, when the thought came to them that they would be better off with "more" of whatever they already had, which was just not good enough for them. God said, "Don't touch the tree of life." The tree is there with them and won't go away no matter what the garden does, but that was not enough security for our first parents. They had to reach out and grab the tree.

In the gospel, Jesus is offered more of several things. The same devil is doing the same tricks. It had worked for a long time, but Jesus was into giving things up, not getting "more" of whatever the devil offered. We cannot grab God, but we can receive God whenever God draws us into the Holy Presence. Let God embrace us in God's choosing. God is always with us no matter what goes on around us. Jesus knew this.

We know it too in our Catholic sacramental experience. We do not "take" sacraments. We "receive" sacraments. We hold out our hands, palms up, or hold out our tongue and receive the tree of life in the Eucharist. God comes to us. We wait. This is the manner of our contemplative prayer. We wait in the Holy Presence and let God do as God wishes. If I am living where an earthquake takes place, (and I have been through a big one), God is not going away from me. God will be with me when the earth shifts, shakes and floods, just as God was with Jesus on the cross. God loves. The earth moves.

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