Today we are celebrating the liturgy of the first Sunday of Lent, and I invite you to live this week, with this theme of conversion, a walk towards the desert with the Lord. Conversion is the amalgamation of two truths together, that of divine, inexhaustible love, and that of human, a recognition of this unconditional love. Conversion helps us to re-establish the relationship with the God of the covenant like that prodigal son who has broken this covenant by his disobedience. Since we have a God who is faithful to his covenant, even in our unfaithfulness, we can, through conversion, find the divine support in God’s faithfulness.
To do this, we must know how to leave our places where we are at ease, change our way of thinking and acting, adventuring in confidence, towards the direction that God will show us. Today's gospel shows that this is what Jesus did, immediately after his baptism, "the Spirit drove him out into the desert, and in the wilderness he remained forty days, tempted by Satan. ». Why is he led into the desert to be tempted by the devil, even more so after having recognized by John the Baptist as the expected Messiah, the Lamb of God?
The Gospel tells us that the times are fulfilled, and the reign of God is at hand. It is here in the desert that he is called to discover in his humanity the divine power, especially at times when the devil will put him in difficulty. In this way the humanity will discover in Jesus, the divine accompaniment, the angels of the Lord, who served him faithfully. Each time we too enter the deserts of life, alone without any landmarks, if we faithfully keep our faith, we will feel the presence of the angels who protect us and who place themselves at our service. Let us not be afraid of these deserts of life, including illnesses, personal, relational, and family breakdowns. My friends in Jesus Christ, I assure you that in our brokenness we will find the divine grace.
It is important to note that the Lord lived with wild beasts. Like Noah, we live with a people who respect no one but their own freedom or self-interest. Everyone sees his own self-interest, ignoring the common good. In the desert, the devil and the angels were before the Lord. He had a choice, as we do today. Let us make a good discernment, life and death are before us. Let us choose love and God who sees everything in secret will repay us.
A new life in God is always possible and if you want, it begins with a daring life in the desert, a special knowledge of how to live with wild beasts, of course being accompanied by the angels of the Lord. One enters into it, not by compulsion or obligation, but voluntarily out of love, to be with the Lord. The wild beasts need us, our witness of love, and that they learn, like us, how to love and forgive each other, as God has loved us in Jesus Christ. Among this wild people, we are invited to live our faith, in a peaceful and pleasant way, as witnesses of the joy of the Gospel, so that, looking at our lives, others may be converted, and recognize the importance of sharing and forgiveness.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us give time to ourselves during these days for confession and reconciliation. Let us make this season of Lent as a season of grace filled with love and compassion. Amen.