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Sunday, March 12, 2000

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First Sunday of Lent

Genesis 9:8-15
1 Peter 3:18-22
Psalm 25
Mark 1:12-15

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lent on trial

"He stayed in the wasteland forty days, put to the test there by Satan." —Mark 1:13

Lent is a time of special testing. The Lord lets us be tested by Satan so that we will grow in holiness. Then we will have a strong faith by which we can renew our baptismal promises this Easter time and by which we can receive the glory of the risen Christ. "There is cause for rejoicing here. You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials; but this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ appears" (1 Pt 1:6-7).

We often have "many trials" throughout our lives. However, there's something unique about Lenten trials. There may be more trials in Lent than at other times, or the combination of trials may be more challenging. Possibly the timing of our Lenten trials may seem exceptionally bad or even mysterious.

If we pray more than ever through these trials and if we fast as Jesus did in the desert, trials will bring out the best in us. If we repent and do penance, trials will not warp, twist, poison, confuse, or weaken us. Rather, God will use these trials to greatly strengthen our trust in His providential, faithful, and perfect love for us. However, if we endure trials without praying, fasting, and repenting, we can become lifelong slaves because of the fear of death (Heb 2:15), or bitter, unforgiving, resentful shadows of our former selves. If we mix sin and trials, we will become slaves of compulsions, self-deception, and self-hatred.

Thank the Lord for trials. Be holy and become holier.

Prayer:  Father, no matter what it takes, make me holy.

Promise:  "The reason why Christ died for sins once for all, the just Man for the sake of the unjust, was that He might lead you to God." —1 Pt 3:18

Praise:  Praise Jesus, suffering, risen Son of God, Who "guides the humble to justice" and "teaches the humble His way" (Ps 25:9).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, July 28, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 1999