Homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent Year B
Theme: Power to overcome temptation
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday February 21 2021
Temptations are real. They form part of our daily experiences. They are incitations to break the commandments of God, to reject His offer of love and to form new and destructive alliances with the Evil One. Temptations are weapons against the Covenant God established with us. The bearer and source of these destructive weapons is the Devil. In Christ, however, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we overcome Temptations and become victorious over the Devil. May we always stand firm in the face of Temptations; Amen.
God is the source of all blessings and everything good. The Devil, on the contrary, is the source of all distractions and temptations and the father of all lies and evils. Through his many tactics, the devil aims at robbing us of the opportunities we have to receive blessings from God. His goal is to lead us to disregard the Covenant and the alliances we have entered with God. The devil knows that every covenant between God and His people is a consolidation of God’s promises and the means of reception of God’s infinite blessings. This is the reason why the devil always tempts us to break the terms of our covenant with God. The First Reading (Genesis 9:8-15) presents us of one such covenants in the History of Salvation, made between God and the human race in the person of Noah; “I establish my Covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; also with every living creature to be found with you… nothing of flesh shall be swept away again by the waters of the flood. There shall be no flood to destroy the earth again.” One of the most striking things about the Covenant with Noah is the fact that water was a means of destruction. On the contrary, in the new and everlasting Covenant enacted on the blood of the holy and spotless Lamb, water would become a means of regeneration by the merits of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the waters of the flood, destruction was wrought in the world. Through the waters of Baptism, we are reborn and receive our proper identity as sons and daughters of God and members of the Church. Saint Peter in the Second reading (1 Peter 3:18-22) explained this great link between the waters of the flood and the waters of Baptism; “that water is a type of the baptism which saves you now, and which is not the washing off of physical dirt but a pledge made to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has entered heaven and is at God’s right hand.” At Easter, we shall renew our Baptismal promises. Through this period also, we pray for God’s grace upon all those who are preparing for Baptism. Through the waters of Baptism, we are introduced into the path that leads to Eternal Life; we enter into a deep relationship with God and become legitimate members of His Family in Christ and royal subjects of His Kingdom.
The Kingdom of God was the very content of the proclamation of our Lord Jesus Christ as we heard in the Gospel Reading (Mark 1:12-15) “the time has come He said and the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.” The reception of Baptism is a decisive point in our journey in this Kingdom. At Baptism we reject the devil and all his enticements. Unfortunately, the devil does not renounce us at Baptism, rather he considers us enemies that must be defeated and possible allies in his war against the Kingdom of God. Temptations are the weapons with which the devil wages his endless wars against us and against God’s Kingdom. And like he did in the past, his aim is to lead us to break the terms of our Covenant with God so as to forfeit the blessedness that accompanies it and to lose the statues of being subjects of God’s Kingdom in eternity. He never spared our Lord Jesus Christ because He was also “tempted by Satan.” Through the Season of Lent, we recollect ourselves and come to terms with the reality of temptations. Nobody is above being tempted! This must always in our consciousness! We are the ones who lose when we fall into temptations; we damage our relationship with God, we disregard the terms of our Covenant with Him and eventually lose the merits of this everlasting Covenant which we entered through Baptism. At Lent, we groom our consciousness of the need to return to God and to repent from the ways we may have infringed on His commandments, recognising that “Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love for those who keep Your covenant.” Lent is a period to grow in our consciousness of keeping God’s Covenant with us ever in mind and to learn the best ways to overcome the devil in all his tactics and temptations.
Heavenly Father, as we walk through this path of grace in this Lenten Season, help us to be faithful to the Covenant You made with us in Christ so that by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in us, we may overcome the devil and come out victorious from all forms of temptations; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE