Homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent Year C
Theme: The time has come repent and believe in the gospel.
By: Fr. C. C. Aladi
Homily for Sunday, March 10 2019
_You rejoice when the rain waters the earth and cause your plants to grow and blossom but you find prayer, fasting and good work which makes you grow in virtue and grace discomforting_.
My dearest children of God, welcome to the season of grace and repentance. May our prayers, fast and almsgiving this period renew our spiritual lives, transform and bring us closer to Christ our saviour who suffered and died for our sake.
Many reflections abound explaining the special character of this season of lent and the expectations of the holy mother church from us, all geared towards helping us to deepen our understanding of this special season so that we can meditate and experience anew the redemptive work of Christ in our lives through His paschal mystery: suffering, death and resurrection. Try to read and meditate on them.
We all have preferences for special seasons of the year. To some, the rainy season is their best while some others the dry. Yet to some in the West, it may be the summer, spring or any of other seasons. In all, the dynamism of the seasons balances and maintain order and harmony in creation. In the rainy season for instance, flowers, trees and plants grow and blossom providing food for the farmer at harvest. This special season of Lent like the rainy season is a time of outpouring of grace when God dispenses His forgiveness and mercy in an unimaginable way enabling us to repent, renew our lives and blossom in virtue thus bearing fruits that will last till eternity.
In our liturgical life, we have many seasons, each highlights a significant and symbolic aspect of the mysteries of our redemption. Lent is one of those seasons in the church’s life when we declare war on sin to experience the grace of our redemption. Just as the seasons of nature maintains order in creation so are the seasons of the church in our spiritual life and journey. But why this emphasis on the Lenten season?.
The history of a people has significant or special moments that marks a turning point, or a culmination of their collective struggles, successes and achievements. For the Israel of old, the Passover feast was such a significant point of their history as God’s own people. As Christians and the people of the new Isreal, the Lenten season is a very significant part of the history of our salvation, a time we re-live the very mysteries that defines who we truly are– the people who were redeemed by the cross of Christ. _Without the Lenten season, we have no history or identity as a people of God_. Hence Lent is a season of seasons.
*WHY TAKE THE LENTEN SEASON SERIOUS ?*
If you the farmer goes out to farm during the rainy season because the land is soft, so also the Christian must take seriously this special season when grace overflows to transform, renew and reinstate us to that noble state that God created us to be. So we need these spiritual instruments to tap into the grace of this season of transformation, to till the heart hardened by the rock of sin, to soften it, to plant the seed of virtue nourished by this grace. The three instruments are: Prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
*Fasting* , that is, learning to change our attitude towards others and all of creation, turning away from the temptation to “devour” everything to satisfy our voracity and being ready to suffer for love, which can fill the emptiness of our hearts. When we fast we kill the pride that deposits like fat in our muscles, we become lighter and humbler to allow God to take control. *Prayer* , which teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego, and to acknowledge our need of the Lord and his mercy. *Almsgiving*, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us. Be generous to the poor, let go what has been lying unused in your bank account, wardrobe, bedroom, kitchen or office. Someone out there needs them.
We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God( cf Rom 3:23), so we need this season to make reparation for our sins. If you say you are without sin then you don’t need this season( cf 1 John 1:8) but if you do, then take it seriously because this opportunity may not come by again. Do not take this season, as usual, this might be your last, so seek God now He is still near and can be found ( cf Isaiah 55:6).
The readings of today especially the gospel of Luke narrates the temptation of Jesus. The devil was trying to prevent Jesus from accomplishing his mission of saving mankind from the bondage of sin, mainly through a temptation to become the political Messiah of Jewish expectations, and to use his Divine power first for his own convenience and then to avoid suffering and death.
*THE DEVIL IS A PERFECT TIMER*