Mass Reading & Meditation for February 17, 2013
Meditation: Deuteronomy 26:4-10
1st Sunday of Lent
The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm. (Deuteronomy 26:8)
When we read the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, we may put brackets around it in our minds, thinking it’s not all that relevant to our own lives. After all, we’re not God’s divine Son. Sure, we may hunger for food, power, and recognition, but we aren’t about to turn stones to bread or throw ourselves off the roof to see if angels will catch us.
But God’s people have always had to face one fundamental temptation: forgetting the Lord and all the ways he has blessed us. The trouble is, when we forget our past, we tend to think that we’re alone in the present, that God isn’t with us to help us and guide us.
Because Jesus never forgot his people’s history, he was able to resist the devil’s temptation. He knew that the God who fed Israel in the desert would not let his Son starve. No, his Father would take care of him in exactly the right way at exactly the right time.
In today’s first reading, Moses exhorts the people to remember their history and to offer God their “first fruits” in gratitude. Each year at the beginning of the harvest, they were to recount their story and insert themselves personally into that story: God made us his own people, he delivered us from slavery, he fed us in the desert, he enabled us to defeat our enemies and settle in the Promised Land.
This is the kind of remembering that we do every time we celebrate the Eucharist. We remember Jesus’ love for us. We remember his teachings, his miracles, and his compassion. We remember his death and resurrection. We remember our own redemption. And as we remember, these events come alive again. We find new grace to resist temptation and continue our journey in faith. So remember the Lord today at Mass. Remember your heritage as an honored, beloved child of God.
“Father, may I never forget your many blessings. Come, Lord, and fill my heart with praise and gratitude.”
Psalm 91:1-2, 10-15; Romans 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13