Homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent - Year C - February 21, 2010
I have a really good friend that has been a big support in my life and he’s done something that has really hurt and disappointed me. I’m feeling a great deal of sadness, loss, and abandonment. I’ve tried to do everything I could for him and for our friendship, but he chose not to take the help and the resources that were offered to him. He’s also chosen not to change the behaviors that are hurtful. And so without one of the greatest support people in my life I find myself once more in the desert. It certainly isn’t my will; I don’t know that it is God’s either. But he permits it. So though I don’t want to do this, though I may not be ready for lent, I’m in the desert.
Jesus was led into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights and when it was over he was HUNGRY. He had a need that was unfulfilled and Satan attacked him right there.
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.”
I guess I’ve been tempted by Satan’s IF. If only I can change him. If only he could see what he was doing. If only he could do it another way. If only… If only…
I’ve tried to help him to be bread, but he’s chosen to remain a stone. And so now I must realize that man does not live on bread alone. As much as I have this need and hunger for this friendship, I do not live by this friendship alone.
Maybe you’re experiencing a real hunger right now, a real need to be fed or nourished or loved and you find yourself coming up at a loss. You’ve tried to do everything you can to change your situation, but the stone remains a stone. And like it or not you’ve been led into the desert. Lent is here whether you’re ready or not.
So during this time you will experience emptiness and hunger, you will be tempted to try and control, manipulate, or over power. You may be tempted to try to change something that doesn’t need to change. And through it all, in our absolute hunger and emptiness, we will discover the word of God, the bread of Life. He does feed us. He does sustain me. He does feed you with his word and sacrament. You may feel hungry but you are not unfed. You may lose the feeling of being loved, but you are not unloved. Do not give into the voice of the enemy that says “If you do this, or If you change this, or if you stop this…then you will be fed.” There’s no need for the IF. You are fed, you are loved, and you are blessed. Don’t buy the lie that you are not. Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.