First Sunday Of Lent Year A March 13th, 2011

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Dear Friends

The Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis tells an arresting story in his book “Report from Greco”. Visiting a saintly and ascetic monk on a remote island the author asked: “Do you still wrestle with the devil, Fr Makarios?” “Not any longer, my child, I have grown old and the devil has grown old with me, He doesn’t have the strength. I now wrestle with God.” “Do you hope to win?” “I hope to lose, my child.”

Every human being in this world has to wrestle both with the devil and with God. The first Sunday of Lent may well be called Wrestling Sunday. The Gospel deals with Christ’s wrestling with the devil. Jesus was put to the test, and we too will be put to the test.

Christ won, and so can we if we use Christ’s method. The rules are simple. If we stand up to and not allow him to pin us down, Christ will always help us to be victorious.

In the first test in the wilderness, the devil says: “Look down.” Christ says: “Look up.” In the second test the devil says: “Throw yourself down.” Christ says: “Lift yourself up.” In the third test the devil says: “Fall down.” Christ says: “Rise up.” At Christ’s death, the devil says: “Come down from the cross.” Christ’s answer is: “No. I will go up to my Father,” and He did it.

Life for many of us has been a comedown. We have come down to sinful places; fallen down with sinful persons; lived with sinful things and sinful habits. During Lent let us break away from our downward trend. Let us rise and go up as Christ requires of us.