First Sunday of Lent
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Reflection by Carol Sexton
40 plus 5 years is the measure of my marriage.
40 days is the traditional number of days of Lent.
The Great Flood lasted 40 days and 40 nights.
The Jewish people wandered the desert for 40 years.
Jesus fasted and was tempted by Satan for 40 days and 40 nights in the Judean desert.
The number forty’s meaning in religion, in our faith, and in my life holds great meaning.
Our Lord’s 40 days in the desert was a time of fasting, reflection, and prayer, as well as a battle against evil. Satan tempted Jesus, and each time Jesus rebuked him, aided by angels. Lent allows each of us to travel to the desert. To pray, reflect on Scripture, repent, and fast. For me as a Catholic, Lent helps me to focus intensely for 40 days on choosing good not evil, on making doing the right thing more important than the popular or easy thing. On making prayer, reading Scripture, and fasting a normal practice during this time. On repenting instead of excusing, on responding with a “yes” to God’s will, not mine. I choose Lent to be a time not of less, but a time of more. I, too, believe I have had and do have angels ministering to me as Jesus did in the desert. Unlike Jesus as he left the desert to head into Galilee, I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I know I am gifted with God’s promise of eternal life.
For 40 days, Lent holds me accountable. Lent asks me, are you ready? Because “this is the time of fulfillment, the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).