Lent is a good time to ask oneself a number of questions: Where is life really leading me? Is the hope of eternal life my aspiration? Have I tried to grow in the life of the Spirit through prayer, reading the Word of God and meditating on it, receiving the Sacraments, self-denial? Have I been anxious to control my vices, my bad inclinations and passions, e.g., envy, love of food and drink? Have I been proud and boastful, thinking myself better in the sight of God and despising others as less important than myself?.
During today's Gospel Reading we heard that Jesus fasted for forty days and He was put to the test by Satan. This reading from the Scriptures provides us with clues as to how we can overcome sin. After fasting for forty days and forty nights, Jesus was awfully hungry. The forty days and nights may be symbolic of the 40 years in the desert when Israel endured a time of temptations and failure. Now, Jesus, the new Israel, is likewise being tempted in the desert.
Having entered into the Lenten Season, this is a time for us to review our beliefs and expectations. Do we demand that God provide for our basic needs while ignoring our spiritual needs? Do we impose demands upon God when we pray, ignoring the impact of such demands on our salvation, the impact upon those around us, and even the impact of such demands upon the Divine Will of God? There has to be a balance between asking the Lord for a blessing if it is according to His Divine Will and saying, "Give me, give me, give me!" And, do we have false hopes of a secular messianism, awaiting for what will never come to pass? Are we wasting valuable time that could be applied towards our spiritual growth, our sanctification in Christ?
This week, may we reflect on these things and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in the truth so we may become as precious pearls to the Lord.
 Sunday 10th February, 2008, 1st Sunday of Lent. Readings: Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned-Ps 50(51):3-6, 12-14, 17. Romans 5:12-19. Matthew 4:1-11. [St Scholastica].
Otto Dix, Temptation of Jesus (1960), Litograph.