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First Sunday In Lent (L1B), Feb. 26, 2012
By Fr. John J. Ludvik
What color are your eyes? That’s a question you can expect when you apply for a driver’s license at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The color of our eyes is a standard part of our physical description. The next part of the process entails reading an eye chart to determine if you have adequate sight to operate a motor vehicle.
As we begin the season of Lent, the Church requires us to engage in a similar eye exam. We’re not asked the color of eyes, but to what extent do the teachings of Christ color our world? Sometimes, it’s a hard test to pass. Like the lower lines on an eye chart, the season of Lent forces us to squint.
But there’s a purpose behind the test. The purpose is to help us assess our ability to detect the hand of God at work. In particular he those blurry areas of our personal lives; the small print of our compromises; and what about those crowded-together-letters that confuse and jumble our understanding of God plan for the world at large?
Sometimes, it’s a hard test to pass. As we all know, there are situations in which it is difficult, mighty difficult, to get a clear focus on the presence of God.
A mother camel and her baby are talking one day and the baby camel asks, “Mom why have we got these huge three-toed feet?” The mother replies, “To enable us trek across the soft sand of the desert without sinking.”
“And why have we got these long, heavy eyelashes?” “To keep the sand out of our eyes on the trips through the desert ”replies the mother camel. “And Mom, why have we got these big humps on our backs?” The mother, now a little impatient with the boy replies, “They are there to help us store fat for our long treks across the desert, so we can go without water for long periods.” “OK, I get it!” says the baby camel, “We have huge feet to stop us sinking, long eyelashes to keep the sand from our eyes and humps to store water. Then, Mom, why the heck are we here in the Seattle zoo?”
Modern life sometimes makes one feel like a camel in a zoo. And like camels in a zoo we need sometimes to go into the desert in order to discover who we truly are. Lent invites us to enter into this kind of desert experience. And today’s readings present us with two examples of such situations to seek the presence of God:
1) A boat floating without direction on a vast expanse of water; and 2) a barren desert with no food or water in sight.
Finding God in situations like that is harder than trying to read the last line on a eye chart. Yet Noah, leaning over the deck railing of his ship persevered and came to see what his eyes were straining to behold: a distance shore and, with it, the hand of God guiding the Ark to the safety of dry land.
A similar thing occurs in the scene in today’s gospel. In the desert, with no food in sight, Jesus witnessed the presence of angelic waiters offering him the rich banquet of God’s Word… a table laden with God’s grace; powerful words and powerful prayer that gave him the strength to withstand temptation and refuse the empty plate of Satan’s promises.
So begins the season of Lent this year: asking us to look hard for the hand of God at work.
First Sunday of Lent
Prayers of the Faithful
For Archbishop Sartain and Bishop Aulianzo, especially in their reaching out to the people of the Archdiocese during this Lenten Season, we pray to the Lord.
For our church, that during this season of repentance, we may witness to the world our faith in God’s heavenly kingdom, we pray to the Lord.
That we might celebrate the forgiveness of our sins by confidently confessing them in the sacrament of reconciliation during this Lenten Season, we pray to the Lord.
That all of us may wholeheartedly participate in our parish programs of prayer, fasting and charity during this Lent, we pray to the Lord.
For those alienated from the Church, that they may find in this community a place of welcome and reconciliation, we pray to the Lord.
For the children of our parish preparing for their First Eucharist and for your youth preparing for Confirmation, that we may all be models of faith for them, we pray to the Lord.That the aged and the ill (especially ------ , the unemployed, the homeless and the hungry have their needs fulfilled through the generosity of others, we pray to the Lord.
For a generous spirit among our parishioners in the Black and Indian Missions Collection in our parish this weekend, we pray to the Lord.
On this Progress Sunday, that we may respond to the invitation to be informed about our faith and the Catholic Church, we pray to the Lord.
For God’s guidance in projects affecting our parish, that we may pull together and support God’s call to conversion of heart this Lent, we pray to the Lord.
For Fr. Ludvik and for our parish families as Fr. Ludvik is installed officially as our pastor this weekend, that we as individuals, committees, and as a parish may work together to build up the Church in this area of the Archdiocese, let us pray to the Lord.