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First Sunday of Lent Homily

Eucharist means giving thanks .It’s the greatest  thank you that  goes up from earth to God our Father, because it’s the life of a man  given back to the Love of  God for love. Each life, each of us  was born for love. God created us to make the world more beautiful. Each new born baby makes the world nicer, he testimonies that God loves the world, loves us and continues to create life in spite of  all the evil and sadness  that exist. The greatest thank you that mankind can donate to God is to give Him back ,for love, the immense  gift  that is life exactly as He gave it to us for love. Jesus gave everything for love ,so  life was full of  God,  and  the world was inhabited by God. God lives in the heart of man .He has done everything, He is everywhere, but the place He really wishes to live in is the heart of man. Today’s liturgy contains many clues; in the first reading Eve  is alone and the snake gets close to her. Being alone is no good. Friendship with God and among us is the first great blessing and protection from evil. We are a family; we must be friends so evil can’t do anything. If we support one another, if we are present in the others’ lives through prayer, help or simply  being there ,with our heart, evil is driven away. Mother Elvira used to tell us:” Be friends, defend one another.” Let’s defend one another with open eyes, with love for one another’s life. When you are in trouble, when you fall down, when your world seems to fall to pieces, remember that you are not alone. This is  the great difference between Adam and Eve’ s attitude  and Jesus’ in the Gospel. Eve was alone and so was Adam, seemingly Jesus is too, but actually He is not. One day He said to the apostles: “…you’ll leave me alone; but I’m not alone, because  the Father is with me” (John 16,31). Jesus was taken  into the desert by the Holy Spirit; His heart is in God and when  your heart is in God ,you are never alone and your heart is in communion with all  mankind, in particular with those who love God.
Second thing: you must not talk with evil, you must not get to its level. If  evil calls you, “cut “ immediately, never make agreements with it: you can get rid of it thanks to God’s strength.
The tempter comes to make dirty the most precious things that Eve has: God’s Promise. He  deceives her, tricks her: “Is it true that God told you:- You must not eat from any tree in the garden-?” God had said not to eat one fruit, from the tree of knowledge of good and evil “…..otherwise you will die”. Think about today’s world: “….. I must experience everything, if I know things  I’ll be free”. It’s not true, evil hurts and generates evil. You must not experience it! Because of the little no that God said  to protect the freedom and dignity of man and woman, evil enters to play with lies and says: “…but then did God forbid  you everything?”. There is something  enormously false in this sentence; actually God had given them everything: He had created and planted a garden for them only! Unfortunately Eve speaks to the snake and allows it to trick her. How great is, here again, the difference with Jesus’  attitude who cries in the Gospel:” Go away, Satan!” . When we feel the attack of evil in our thoughts, when we are tempted by seductions, malice, we too must chase him, like Jesus did  in the desert, wiping it out with God’s Word :”….it was said…”. Defend yourself from Satan with the Word of God; defend your dignity, the precious treasures of your heart, your hope, your confidence in God and in Life!
Third important  point: humbleness. To be little, poor, in need of God, of Love. Satan asks Jesus to turn stones into bread, he  tempts His pride: “ If you are God…”.But Jesus replies:” Man does not live by bread alone.”, we are hungry of something else, we are eager of God, and Jesus is hungrier of this than of bread after forty days’ fast! When he sees that Jesus defends the Scripture, the tempter attacks Him using the same tool, God’s Word:”…In their hands they will keep you up so that your foot may not be crushed against a stone…throw yourself down!”     He tries to make Him use the Word of God not as a gift, but as a claim: that would mean to pervert God’s love. God’s promises  cannot become a claim because they are hope.
 We are always love beggars, beloved children waiting in confidence. Jesus replies: ”You shall not put the Lord your God to the test”: He trusts His Father!
Then Satan attacks  with the last temptation, the most perverted one: “All these I will give you if you will fall down and worship me”. He attacks Him with the promise of an easy happiness :”…you will possess everything, you will use everything as you wish…”. Jesus refuses, He worships God only!  How many people kneel before money, idols, success. What a gift ,for us ,to kneel before the Eucharist, before a God who, before being worshipped by you, has already given his life for you! Jesus descended, took on his back our weakness, our  temptations, and faced all this without asking either for discounts or privileges and He won in Faith and love. Let’s Lent be, for each of us, the walk in the desert towards the Easter of Resurrection that is the true and eternal victory of Christ on sins and death.


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