By Trevor Rainwater, SJ
All three of our readings revolve around temptation – giving into and not giving into temptation. Our First Reading tells the story of the “Fall of Humanity,” through which Adam and Eve gave into temptation and ate from the tree from which they were told not to eat. Our Second Reading from Romans explains how we understand sin and its connection to death, yet provides hope through Jesus. The Gospel provides the three-fold temptations of Jesus and how NOT to give into temptation.
On Wednesday, we began our journey through Lent, which for those in the RCIA program, is the season when everything “ramps up.” The RCIA program of discernment and gaining deeper knowledge about the Roman Catholic faith begun in October comes to an end in the next six weeks. The Gospels during the Scrutinies of Lent (March 14, 22, and 29) speak to the Elect (those unbaptized) as a means of uncovering and healing some of the weaknesses and sins of the Elect. Through these Scrutinies, the goal is for the Elect to have a grace-filled encounter of the healing power of the Holy Spirit, which will be fully realized at the Easter Vigil.
While the Scrutinies focus on the Elect and are still a few weeks away, their message is for all of us. We are called at the beginning of Lent to examine how and where in our lives, we have been tempted and have fallen into sin. By examining “what we have done and in what we have failed to do,” our goal is to try to avoid future temptations. By recognizing these potential pitfalls, we can then “grow in the understanding of the riches hidden in Christ” (Collect, 1st Sunday of Lent).
Genesis 2.7-9, 16-18, 25; 3.1-7