LENTEN REFLECTION (Sr Columbia Fernandez O.P)
The Covenant in the First Reading, speaks very much of a Relationship. God established His Covenant with Noah and his descendants. Everything that God created is precious to Him. He therefore, wants a relationship with everything that He has made. This also applies to us. God wants a relationship with you and me. Even though there will be storms, not even the floods of our lives should destroy that covenant.
Through the floods which Noah and his family endured, (in the second reading), God saved them through water. Water can either be destructive, or it can be life-giving. The waters of our Baptism is God’s way of showing us that through water and the Spirit, we can all be saved into Christ. However, we do go through trials and are in our own prison because of our sins. We need God’s purifying water to cleanse us of our sins so that we can be set free. Once we are free because of our baptism and repentance of our sins, we re-establish our covenant with God and enter into a new relationship with Him.
In the Gospel, the desert was the home of Christ for forty days. It was in the desert, where He encountered many temptations. Yet, He was strong, even though He was weak. He knew how to handle the challenges of temptations because He relied not on His own strength, but totally on the strength of His Father. It was in a desert that the Father was preparing Him for His mission. God wanted Jesus to understand that there would be many conflicts out there. He wanted Jesus to rely totally on the strength of His Father and the Holy Spirit.
There is always a period of dryness in our lives when we experience a desert. It can be a very unpleasant feeling, a feeling of loneliness, fear, isolation from family and friends, the desert of jealousy, victimisation, ingratitude, hatred, addiction to alcohol or drugs, the list is endless. All of these are deserts in different forms. We encounter our own human weakness in our desert. These are the wild beasts in our lives, and we need to break free of them. We need God’s angels to look after us, just as God looked after Jesus when He was suffering from temptation and hunger. How do we break free from all the temptations which separate us from God? We need to seek God and yearn for Him. We need to be dependent on Him alone. We need to let go of our insecurities and our strange notions that we can do it all by ourselves. It is through our selfishness and our pride, that we constantly drift away from God and that eour relationship with God gets distorted and broken.
We need to be fed, not with bread which gives us and others indigestion, (the bread of our sins) but with the Good News of Christ. May Christ change the stones in our desert into the living bread of His Word, so that we can be fed and nourished and thus be free to be bread for others by spreading the Good News. (This is our mission). May God turn our deserts into streams of living water, so that others can live in truth and in love, in justice and in peace.
Sr Columbia Fernandez O.P