Reflection on 1st Sunday of Lent: 1st March 2020

A Path of Rediscovery

Today’s Gospel story follows immediately on from Jesus’ baptism when Jesus’ identity as the Son of God was revealed: ‘This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’ In the wilderness, the evil one challenges this reality: ‘If you are the Son of God…’ We, too, are tempted to doubt our divine identity. We can so easily find our identity in what we do, in what we have, in what other people think of us, instead of in who we are.

Do we approach the coming weeks of Lent as an invitation to spend time in the ‘desert’ of silence, rediscovering our divine identity? What if our Lenten practice this year is to reclaim and re-treasure that which is of ultimate importance and infinite value – people, relationships, justice and compassion, forgiveness, beauty and time to reconnect with whatever renews our spirit and deepens our experience of love? As we reclaim and re-treasure we somehow get ourselves back. We’re more whole, more complete.

We begin Lent by blessing and being blessed by the ashes of the palms used in last year’s Palm Sunday celebration. Do we see this as a ‘doom and gloom’ experience, or do we come filled with awe and wonder, knowing what God can do with dust?

So let us be marked not for sorrow.
And let us be marked not for shame.
Let us be marked not for false humility
or for thinking we are less than we are
but for claiming what God can do
within the dust, within the dirt,
within the stuff of which the world is made.

Jan Richardson: Blessing the Dust

Various sources including M. Marsh and R.Rohr