First Sunday of Lent 2022
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
to be tempted by the devil.
~ Luke 4:1-2a
Brothers and Sisters,
On Ash Wednesday, when we received ashes, we heard one of two phrases, “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust your shall return.” Though familiar from my childhood, the second has always come across as odd to me, maybe because this phrase can have an unintentional subtext that we are as worthy as a heap of dust. I’m happy to share that this couldn’t be further from the truth; we have infinite worth by our baptisms! The moment the water touches our skin, and the presider proclaims, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” we transform into God’s beloved sons and daughters for all time and eternity! Plus, we become members of a spiritual family, the Body of Christ, while becoming a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit — forever.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus allows the Spirit to lead him into the desert to stand tempted by the devil for forty days. During that time, our Lord faces every temptation imaginable, like the enticements of physical comforts to the draw of worldly power with, finally, his very faithfulness to God tested. I offer a fair warning, do not misuse your inherent worth by welcoming such temptations with false bravado. Yes, we all face temptations in life, but it’s good to remember that avoiding temptations is the best approach on many occasions. In some instances, we may need to put ourselves in challenging situations. Either instance, let’s be mindful of the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence.
This week, I encourage you all to spend some time researching your baptisms. Please search for your baptismal date, and be sure to mark it on your physical or electronic calendars. Gather photos, whether dusting off memory boxes or searching on hard drives and pull out the baptismal garment and candle. Consider creating a prayer corner with these items for the season of Lent. Recall and share stories from your baptism, and offer a prayer of thanks to God for recognizing us as his beloved children. You might want to reach out to your parents or godparents, call or write a letter. Also, as a gift from the parish, the book God Dwells in Us is available to parishioners this weekend. The parish staff and I hope we all can read this text throughout Lent and discover the eye-opening implications of our baptisms, like what happens in the water of baptism, how the sacrament helps free you from sin, and how we are transformed inside out. To that effort, Deacon Roch will share his reflections on the book and lead an open discussion on two Monday evenings during Lent. To learn more about joining that conversation, be sure to visit WWW.OLPHParish.org/Lent-2022.
It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will guide our efforts to be attuned to the graces of our baptism as we reflect on the ways the Holy Spirit motivates us to grow this Lent!
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett