10 February 2008

First Sunday of Lent (RCL) Homily

Today I celebrated Divine Liturgy and preached in a parish that uses the Revised Common Lectionary. Here are the notes from that homily.

In 1970, The Grass Roots released a song titled "Temptation Eyes". The song features a man singing about a naive, innocent woman and a man's sure and certain knowledge that he wants to have her for himself. The song repeats, several times: "Temptation eyes looking through my soul. Temptation eyes, you got to love me, Got to love me tonight."
Our music extols it, our advertising bids us to give into it, and our world considers it glorious and amazing… we seem to, as a society, covet temptation. Soap operas are built around it, our game shows play upon it, and each of us in our own ways face temptation on a daily basis. We are not strangers to temptation, nor were our first parents, Adam and Eve.

What can Adam and Eve and their temptations teach us about the four parts of temptation…
· Temptation's Root: Satan attempts to subvert Eve's relationship with God.
· Temptation's Strength: Satan plays on Eve's intellect… It's not that bad… how can it be wrong when it looks so good / feels so right
· Temptation's Impetus: Eve makes Satan's thoughts her own. He's right, it looks good!
· Temptation's Inevitable Result: Shame, fear, hiding, pain, suffering, terror, and the loss of a deep, intimate connection with God.

Each and every one of us, in turn, have inherited the lasting physical effects of sin, and the tendency to sin. Not only do we bear the mark of sin, but the purposeful, beautiful, ordered design of creation was rocked. As we hear in the Letter to the Romans, "sin and death entered the world through one man."

Just as disaster entered into the world through one man, so too, we are told, salvation and restoration enters through a man, the God-man, Jesus Christ.

During this Lenten season, each of us will meditate repeatedly, I am sure, on the passion, death, and burial of the Lord. Which of us can forget the rites of Good Friday when we solemnly join our minds and hearts to that burial procession that formed at the summit of Calvary nearly two millennia ago?

Yet Christ does not only teach us that through his death, we find life. Today, on this first Sunday within the Lenten season, we are shown an example of how to live.
Each day, we face temptations and lures that would seek to draw us away from our relationship with God. Some of them are innocuous, others are blatantly obvious. All of them, however, fall into one of three categories:
· We give worldly necessities the value and weight of eternal necessities (stones to bread)
· We give worldly circumstances and challenges the value and weight of eternal life (throw yourself from the parapet)
· We give worldly glory and fame the value and weight of the glory of God we are called to share. (Worship Satan and Inherit the Kingdoms of the Earth)

Each of us face daily temptations… one look at my waistline can tell you that much… but how we choose to face temptations defines us and the depth of our relationship with God.

Adam and Eve Response: Embrace temptation.
Jesus’s response: Meet temptation with the powerful word and an insistent spirit.


All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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