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Lorida, Florida
Tir De , Gaelic for "God's Country"

 
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Spiritual Reflections
by Fr. Sean C. Mulcahy,
D.Min., LMFT, AAPC

A Talk for the first Sunday of Lent
February 14th, 2016

"Come Back to Me with Your Heart"


“Rend your hearts, not your garments, shouts the prophet Joel to us on Ash Wednesday –the beginning of this season of Lent. I looked up in the dictionary what ‘rend’ meant. It means to tear or open, and the word ‘rind’ is associated with it, it refers to the hard skin of an orange or lemon. So what the prophet Joel is telling us, that sometimes, our hearts are ‘tough and hard to penetrate’. So ‘rend’ your hearts can be quite challenging. One father said to his children to go beyond just ‘giving up’ something like candy, to giving up some habit or sin, during Lent. About halfway through he asked how they were doing. His youngest son had promised to give up fighting with his brothers and sisters. When the father asked how it was going the boy replied, “I’m doing pretty good Dad – but boy, I can’t wait until Easter.

Obviously this is not what Lent is about. And hence we take a closer look at the temptations Jesus endured. The story is told that when the Union Pacific was being constructed, an elaborate trestle was built across a large canyon in the West. Wanting to test this bridge, the builder loaded a train with extra cars and equipment and drove it to the middle of the bridge where it remained for a day. When asked why he did that, the builder replied : “I’m trying to prove that the bridge won’t break. William Barclay a scripture scholar explains temptation this way: “ What we call temptation is not meant to make us sin“, it is meant to enable us to conquer sin. It is not meant to make us bad, it is meant to make us good.” Notice that it was the Spirit, not the devil, that led Jesus into the desert.

The three great temptations of Jesus can be named: Power, Prestige and Possessions. So there you have the whole arena of sinful possibilities. So much and so many seek power in different ways, even some seek it through ‘learned helplessness’. Prestige –keeping up with the Jones’ is alive and well, and possessions speak for themselves –see all my stuff?. We are constantly bombarded by ‘ad-messages’ that this product will add to our stature, and make life more pleasant .Keep in mind that forty in the Bible simply means a long time, so if Jesus who had to be hungry turned the stones into bread that would demonstrate some power. Jesus responds : not on bread alone does man live, but on the word of God. Set our priorities straight. You read practically every day what some people, many of them professional, will do for money. Prestige –what the world sees as important is not seen that way by God. “ You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone you shall serve.”

Our second reading from Paul: “...for if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved . .for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”   Amen.



 

 

 
 

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Tir De Retreat Center, Lorida, Florida.
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