1st Sunday of Lent - March 10, 2019
THIS WEEK’S REFLECTION
Temptation is Real, and Painful
“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 4:1-2
What a painful experience for Jesus. If you really think about this, it can be difficult to understand…at least at first.
Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Creator of the Universe, the great I AM, the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, is in the desert, suffering for forty days while He is tempted by the devil and living among the wild beasts. Why in the world would He do this and why would God the Father allow it to happen? And what’s more, it says that it was actually the Holy Spirit who drove Jesus into the desert to experience this painful 40 days!
Perhaps we rarely reflect upon all that Jesus endured and all that He suffered in His human life. Sure, we think about the Crucifixion at times but even that is often overshadowed by our knowledge that He rose. It’s easy to miss the suffering He went through throughout His life. And it’s easy to miss the reason He went through all that He did go through in His humanity.
So what’s it all about? It’s about love for us all. It’s about God loving us so much that He was willing to endure every form of hardship and human suffering that enters into our lives. It’s about God being able to look us square in the face and say, “Yes, I do understand what you’re going through…I really do.” This is love. It’s a love so deep that God Himself was willing to experience our weaknesses and pain so that He would be able to meet us there, console us in the midst of whatever we are going through, and gently lift us out of it to the new life He has in store for us. Again, this is Love!
The Spirit “led” (Matthew’s version) and even “drove” (Mark’s version) Jesus out into the desert. This was a way of telling us that this experience was the plan and will of God. It wasn’t something imposed upon Jesus by some strange happenstance. It wasn’t bad luck or an unfortunate and meaningless human suffering. No, it was suffering for a purpose. Suffering with an intention. And the intention was, in part, to experience and embrace all that we experience and must embrace.
Temptation in life is real. It’s the result of our fallen human nature. It comes from our weakness but also from the evil one. Temptation can be a heavy burden and cause heavy emotional and psychological pain. And when the temptation is given in to, it causes an even deeper spiritual pain. Jesus never gave in to the temptations in the desert, nor did He give in to temptations at any other time in His life. But He endured them and suffered them.
This tells us that He can be our strength and inspiration in the midst of whatever we are tempted with each and every day. Some days we may feel the loneliness and isolation of one who is driven into the desert of our sins. We may feel as though the wild beasts of our disordered passions are getting the best of us. We may feel as though the evil one is having his way with us. Well, Jesus felt this way, also. And He freely allowed Himself to experience this in His humanity. It was the will of the Father and the working of the Holy Spirit that drove Him to this experience.
For these reasons, it is Jesus Himself who is able to meet you in this desert within. He is there, waiting for you, looking for you, calling to you. He is there in the midst of anything and everything you may be going through. And it is He, the One who defeated this desert temptation, who will gently guide you out. He went to the desert to meet you and to bring you back. And just as the angels ministered to Jesus in this desert, so also does He send those angels to minister to you.
So whether your “desert” is only a slight agitation in life right now, or if it’s a struggle against complete despair, Jesus wants to meet you and bring you out. He conquered the desert once and for all and He is able to conquer any desert in your life, also.
Soup and Scripture at St. Ann’s. Each Wednesday, from March 13 to April 10, St. Ann’s Church will host a meal of soup and bread at 6:30 pm, followed by a presentation and discussion on the theme of “Welcoming The Stranger”. There will be a guest speaker each week. This week’s special guest speaker will be Dr. Patricia Fosarelli; Associate Dean of St. Mary’s Seminary and Ecumenical Institute.
Devotional Materials. A Lenten prayer book “The Word Among Us” offers scripture readings, prayer and action for each day of Lent. We invite you to take a copy for you and your family.
The Liturgy Committee meets today following Mass in the Anchorage. All members are encouraged to attend.
The Sista Circle meets this Tuesday, March 12, 6:00 pm in the Anchorage. All members are encouraged to attend.
CORE TEAM MEETING
The first meeting for the Pastorate Core Team will be held Saturday, March 23, 2019 at St. Ann’s Church 10 am – 2 pm. Breakfast will be provided beginning at 9:30 am.
Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers and Ushers (Ministers of Hospitality) are cordially invited to the "Annual Ministers Retreat" for our Pastorate hosted by St. Francis Xavier Church, 1501 E. Oliver Street, from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. (preceded with a continental breakfast and fellowship) on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The cost is $12 and includes breakfast, lunch and materials. Please sign-up with the sheet provided on the table in the back of the church.
SAVE THE DATE
Save the Date for Saturday, April 27th 7:00 pm as the St. Ann’s Choir presents a Gospel Music Celebration Concert, “I Came to Magnify The Lord.” This event will be performed at St. Ann’s Church. Donations are $10. Please join us!!!
ST. ANN’S ANNUAL FUNDRAISER
We are gearing up for our St. Ann’s Annual Fundraising Event Friday, May 31. We will celebrate with a Shrimp and Bull Roast which features an all you can eat menu. Tickets are currently available at $60 per person. Payment plans may also be established for the purchase of your ticket. Please see Bobby Jackson and our ticket captains for tickets and information. Tickets may also be purchased in church office.
Friday, May 31, 2019
4301 Klosterman Ave.
Baltimore, MD. 21236
8:00 pm – 12:00 am
Bishop Madden invites you to join him for his next prayer walk on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at Historic, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church (1501 E. Oliver Street, Baltimore, MD 21213).
The evening will begin with a light meal at 5:30 p.m. and end before 7:30 p.m.
Please also continue to pray for all of our sick and homebound, especially Msgr. Lloyd Aiken (Sacred Heart Glyndon), Florence Barber, James Butts, Elaine Cousin, Elaine Edmonds, Gregory Epps, John Frederick, Pat Haley, Rita Hardy, Tom Lutz, Josephine McCoy, Penny Palmer, Bernadette Wallace, Nelson Outlaw, Rita Watkins, and ask that God grant them strength, comfort and healing.
Sun., Mar.10 1st Sunday of Lent 11 am Mass,
Sunday School 9:30 am
2nd Floor Youth Room
Adult Bible Study after Mass
Tues., Mar.12 Sista Circle Meeting
Anchorage, 6:00 pm
Wed., Mar.13 Soup and Scripture
Special Guest Speaker
Dr. Patricia Fosarelli
6:30 pm, Anchorage
Thurs., Mar.14 Evening Mass (confession before/after) Bible Study 7-9 pm
Sat., Mar.16 Finance Committee Meeting
Anchorage, 10 am-12 pm
READINGS FOR NEXT SUNDAY
1st Reading Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18
2nd Reading Philippians 3:17-4:1
Gospel Luke 9:28b-36