The Good News

Welcome to The Good News Blogspot! The Good News is real and alive in my own life. Jesus has fulfilled in my life His promise of fuller and more abundant life (John 15), a quality of life I could not have created for myself. I invite you to share experiences with me so we can all grow into the life He offers us all.

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Catholic by call, Jesuit by nature, a preacher/spiritual conversation partner by choice. Learning about getting older, learning to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Learning to let go and laugh.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Why Be Religious? - Part 3 of a Lenten Reflection

Jesus was tempted in the desert – to reject God and rely on himself. But he recognized the reality that he, like all human beings, is dependent on God, and so he resisted these temptations and avoided serious Sin (Matthew 4:1ff):

-- turn the stones into bread, said Satan: in other words, depend on yourself, reject any idea of dependence on God.

-- rule the whole earth, said Satan: in other words, believe that exercising control over one’s life, over other people and things in this world creates a successful and happy life. Depending on God is foolish and unnecessary.

-- throw yourself off the parapet of the Temple, said Satan: in other words, make God take care of you so that you can maintain the lifestyle you have chosen.

Relying on our own efforts alone, seeking control over our lives, and insisting God ensure our choice of lifestyle appeal to the human hope for self-assertion and affirmation. But they are temptations to deny what is real, namely, that only God can be the source and sustainer of our lives. And to turn away from God in favor of a false self-reliance is serious Sin.

It is no accident that in Matthew, Mark and Luke Jesus begins his public ministry with his baptism, which is his confirmation by the Father, and the temptations. The Feast of the Baptism always closes the Christmas Season, and the temptations are always the Gospel reading for the first Sunday of Lent.

Our only way to live fully and successfully is to hear the Father’s confirmation of us and to resist temptations to rely on ourselves rather than on God. "Turn away from sin," the priest says on Ash Wednesday, marking our foreheads with ashes. False self-reliance and self-sufficiency are serious Sin. Only God is God. "Remember you are dust and to dust you will return."

Being “religious,” being a believer, holding the Triune God at the center of our lives is the only way to a fullness of life we cannot create for ourselves.


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