Fr. Ryan on Lent

Our Lenten Journey with Christ: 3rd Sunday in Lent

Aligning with the Gospel messages is beneficial as we continue our Lenten period of prayer, fasting and alms giving.

Matthew 4: 1-4:  “Then Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tested by the devil.  And after forty day and forty nights, at last he was hungry. And the tempter approached him and said to him: “If you are the Son of God, say that these stones become bread.”  But he answered and said: “it is written: ‘Not by bread alone shall a man live, but by every word coming forth through the mouth of God.

Matthew 6: 7-8:  Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them.  Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven…”

Of all of the petitions contained in The Lord’s Prayer the one that appears to stand out beside the Lenten themes is “give us this day our daily bread. “ If Christ believes that we do not live on bread alone, how are we to understand this?

Perhaps we can understand the human hunger of Christ as simply that, after forty days he was hungry, seeking to sustain the needed nourishment of his human body.

But if Christ is truly the presence of God among us, then it is God’s will as seen through Jesus that we are in pursuit of.  Christ teaches us the covenant of the new Law, the Law of Love of God and of each other.  If we follow the inter relationships between Christ and our fellow humans in need, then we learn the value of being servants. Christ serves each of us by teaching us the core value of seeing the needs of others.  Pushing us beyond simple giving to seeing the worth of others.  He creates in us a value that goes beyond our own needs by placing others ahead of ourselves.

We are to LOVE others beyond our own self-love; donating from the depths of ourselves amplifying the Christ in us all.

Happy Lent,
Father Denis

This article was contributed by Fr. Denis Ryan, a Redemptorists priest of the Denver Province, who ministers at Sacred Heart parish in Seattle.