First Sunday of Lent

In today’s readings, we have an amazing contrast between the first reading and the gospel. In the first reading, Adam and Eve are in the garden when they are tempted by the Devil, and succumb to this temptation. In the gospel, Jesus is in the desert when he is tempted by the Devil, and resists. St. Paul likewise draws attention to the contrast between Adam and Jesus in the second reading, noting that through Adam “death came to all,” but through Jesus, “life and acquittal came to all.”

Through Adam, human nature got a bad reputation for itself, and the reputation only got worse over time. But that was not the last word on the matter. The Son took on human nature and, through Him, human nature got a second chance. Sin and death are not the last word about human nature. Their conquest through the righteousness of Jesus is the final word. Satan thought that he had conquered humanity in tempting our first parents. Instead, he found himself conquered in the end. All this because God decided to give us a second chance.

Lent is the great season of second chances. Throughout this time, we do penance and seek to atone for our sins. We recognize that we have drifted from God and neighbor, and seek to return to them through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. All of Lent is leading us towards the Triduum, that moment in salvation history when our second chance was realized. Lent is a time when we first of all call to mind that we are very much in need of a second chance. More importantly, though, it is a time when we should call to mind that we have been given one.

March 9th, 2014