The theological heart of Deuteronomy is One God, one people and one faith. The first reading concerns the confession of faith, which Moses gave to the people of Israel as a way to express their appreciation for the benevolence of God who rescued them from the land of Egypt. The Lenten season intensifies our invitation to an appreciation of the reality of the God’s love fully revealed in the sacrificial death of Christ for the salvation of humanity. Lent is a period to offer the gift of ourselves to God through our participation in the paschal mystery. Our vocation as priests and brothers in the Congregation of the Mission should be marked with the constant offering of ourselves to God in the service of the poor. In our self-offering to God, we learn to build our hope and trust in God and to express our love for God and for one another through our love of the poor.
The second reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans expresses the theme: ‘the confession of faith of the believer in Christ’. This confession of faith establishes the ground for unity in diversity as clearly evidenced by the absence of distinction between Jew and Greek. Thus, the reading invites us to get rid of all sorts of division and dissidence that may sometimes raise its ugly head in the community. There is no better time than the time of Lent for the realization of unity and peace among us through mutual reconciliation founded truly on love. By the offering of ourselves to God and our reconciliation with one another, we will be able to stand and overcome temptation because Jesus will be our strength in our moment of weakness. However, we ought to take to heart and mind the responses of Jesus to the adversary (Satan) so as not to fall prey to the devil when he comes to tempt us. In our moment of difficulties and doubts we should not forget to seek the face of God by joining with the psalmist to pray; “Be with me, O Lord when I am distress. “
Fr Augustine Abiagom CM